August 29, 2012 by eric echols
In the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus asks two questions that have huge ramifications for our approach to next gen ministry. In Luke 13:18 Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it?” The answers to these questions define our role as preschool, children’s, and student ministry leaders. They teach us to be seed planters and Kingdom illustrators.
When describing the Kingdom of God, I kind of expected Jesus to deliver some powerful and lofty words. Yet Jesus describes the Kingdom of God by saying, “It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden…(Luke 13:19)”. The first principle is this: We’re called to be seed planters. The problem is that seed-planting results take time to show up.
We’d much rather build programs then plant seeds. However, when we plant the seeds of the kingdom of God in the lives of the next generation…those seeds can grow into mighty trees of faith.
The answer to Jesus’ other question gives us our second principle: we are called to be Kingdom illustrators. Illustrators bring words to life by painting pictures that engage us in the story. To become Kingdom illustrators we need to do the same through our ministries to the next generation. Here’s how we bring the truths written in Scripture to life for the children and students at our church.
Large group worship experience—Our large group programming is designed to engage the next generation through video, lights, sound, engaging worship, and creative storytelling to make a lasting impression on their lives. Each week our preschoolers, children, and students have the opportunity to express their love for who God is and praise God for all he has done.
Small group environments—After the large group, we take part in small group environments that are designed to help our children and students apply God’s word to their lives. We reinforce the Bible story through application based conversations and meaningful connections with their friends and adult leaders.
We plant the seeds—and God makes them grow for a lifetime. We illustrate the Kingdom by painting the picture of Scripture on the canvas of the next generations lives.