Growing up my dad was a contractor, so I have been around construction sites my entire life. One thing my dad always taught me was that the success of the building was determined by its foundation.
Whether you are building a house, your life, or a children’s ministry the same principle applies. If you want to be successful, you have to start with the right foundation. When it comes to building a children’s ministry, I’ve identified two building blocks that determine your success. Paul said it 1 Corinthians 3:10,11, “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder…each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” The two building blocks of a successful preschool ministry are 1) Transformational Truth, and 2) Creating Connections.
The first building block of a successful children’s ministry is found in the Great Commandment. Jesus summed up the transformational truth we need to build our ministries on in Matthew 27:36-40.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The transformational truth that we build our ministries on is LOVE. It begins when we Love God. We put Him first in everything we do. Then based on our love for God, we are able to Love Ourselves. This means that we teach kids that the choices they make matter. All of their choices have either good or bad consequences. The decisions we make in life move us closer to God or further away from God. When we properly love God and love ourselves, then we can properly love others.
As kids learn to love God, love themselves, and love others God will begin to change them from the inside out.
The second building block of a successful children’s ministry is the foundation of creating connections. Unlike other ministries, children’s ministry has three diverse audiences that we need to connect with.
We begin by making connections with parents. The key here is partnership. We do this by coming along side parents to work together to help their children develop a relationship with Jesus. We provide them with tools and resources to help them guide their kids on their spiritual journey.
We also connect with volunteers. The key here is teamwork. Realize that every volunteer has a role to play in the spiritual formation of children. We need to design ways for volunteers to build relationships with each other. To build team with our volunteers we also need to create a culture of trust.
Finally, we connect with kids. The key here is relevance. Our lessons, songs, crafts, and activities need to be relevant to the children in our ministry. They need to be age appropriate and connect with the kids on their level. Every week we need to teach the Bible in a fun, engaging environment.
Every builder knows that the right foundation is fundamental to the success of his or her building. As we instill in our children a LOVE for God, themselves, and others AND CONNECT with parents, volunteers, and kids…we will be well on our way to designing a children’s ministry that will stand the test of time.