Updated: Feb 2
Do you want the power of God moving in your children’s ministry? I would think that most of us would easily say, YES! Why is it then that so many of us don’t invite the Holy Spirit’s power into our children’s ministry?
Sure, we may pray and ask for spiritual gifts, but when is the last time you started your class with a time of inviting the Spirit to come in power and do what only He can do? When is the last time you waited on Him?
I hope your answer to that question was ‘we just did that this past week’. But what I’m finding more and more is this ministry culture of just going through the motions. Where curriculums now tell you word for word what to say and when to say it. Where people are so concerned about keeping the ‘program’ on schedule that they don’t leave room for God to do His thing. Whatever happened to letting the Holy Spirit lead—in everything!
Be Prepared for a Change of Plans!
Yes, I come prepared to teach. I have my lesson plan. I’ve prayed beforehand. I’ve preplanned the lesson with all the greatest intentions in the world. But, when I’m in the middle of a lesson and I hear the Spirit say let’s do this…. I listen. I rearrange all of my plans for Him. If He wants to do something, I leave the door wide open and invite Him in.
This has led to some of the greatest experiences in
children’s ministry that I’ve ever had.
I’m not offended when we don’t get to all of my plans. I’m not sacrificing all of my time and energy for me, I’m doin it for Him. I want those kids to know Him. Every week I pray that it wouldn’t be me, it would be Him. I don’t ever want to stand in the way of what He wants to do. I’ve come to learn that His plans are way better than mine! If I want the Holy Spirit’s power in our children’s ministry then I need to let Him take over.
So, Why isn’t this the norm?
Why isn’t this the norm? I thought it was for a while, and in some circles it is, but I’m discovering that many children never experience children’s church like this. Even when their teachers desire it. But why? Why aren’t we inviting the Holy Spirit to take charge of our children’s ministry?
Many curriculums don’t leave opportunities for this type of interaction with the Holy Spirit.
It’s true that we need to be willing to break away from the curriculum and leave space for Him, but I’m thinking we need to rethink how we do curriculum as well. What if our curriculum had opportunities to encounter God embedded into every lesson and activity. When we intentionally make room for Him to come and meet us, it’s hard to forget and/or skip over this important element. If we start with rethinking how we design our lesson plans/curriculum, then it will help teachers (of all levels in their walk) provide those easily forgotten but very important moments of encountering God’s Spirit each week.
Many children’s ministries don’t have a system to disciple their volunteers and teachers.
I’m from a small church, and one of my biggest regrets over the years is not being better at discipling our children’s ministry volunteers and teachers. I’ve always desired more training and personal discipleship for each volunteer, but we live in an overworked and overbooked society. Creating opportunities for everyone to get together for trainings can be tough and at times, nearly impossible. That doesn’t mean we can disregard the importance of training and equipping our children’s workers. (Next week I’ll talk more about some helpful ways to encourage, equip, and train your children’s ministry volunteers.) If we want our kids to go after God this way than it needs to start with us.
Many children’s ministries get stuck in the “way we’ve always done it” mode of thinking
So, I want to be clear, I’m not against everything the church has done in the past to disciple its youth. Most of it is really good and should be used today. What I’m against is not allowing the Holy Spirit to give us new and creative ideas that expand on what He’s done in the past and invite us into what He is doing today. We need to be careful to not get stuck in what God did in the past, or we might miss what God’s doing in the present. I encourage everyone to continually ask for creative ideas from God’s Holy Spirit. Let Him guide you in ministry. He wants us to get out of the Boxed System of doing things and leave room for Him to make all things New. It may look different, but different doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Many people forget that children need the Holy Spirit
Let me say that again: Children NEED the Holy Spirit. Let’s not forget that children deal with a lot of stuff in life that isn’t pretty. Life is hard as an adult, but don’t forget that most of our adulthood issues stem from things that happened in our childhood. We would be fools to think children aren’t big enough, or mature enough to receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:39 says, ”For the promise is for you and your children and all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” The promised Holy Spirit is for our children! They need the Holy Spirit for the same reasons we do.
Many people are scared to take a risk
Let’s be honest, we like to be in control of things. Letting the Holy Spirit control things means you have to let go of your control. Which means you might not know exactly what you are going to say and when. You might have an idea of where He’s leading you, but you don’t know the full plan. It’s risky! It’s adventurous! I think most people would say I’m not a risk taker, but I have an adventurous spirit. The Holy Spirit asks me to give Him control and follow Him on the bumpy trail, even when I’m not sure where the trail ends. Even though part of me is saying no, it’s too risky, the other part of me is saying I can’t wait to see what’s at the end of the trail! Let’s not be afraid to discover what He has waiting for us at the end of the trail.
Believing for More: Spirit Power in Ministry
I desire more for our kids, because I know the Lord has more for them. He wants us to walk in the Power of the Holy Spirit. ‘For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.’ 1 Corinthians 4:20
If a child believes, then they should receive from their Father in Heaven. Let’s not get in the way of that, but instead encourage the Spirit’s work in our children by inviting the Holy Spirit’s power in children’s ministry.
If you are looking for children’s church curriculum that teaches the kids about the Holy Spirit and how he works through us, check out our newest curriculum entitled- Power: Made for the Holy Spirit. Help your kids discover that the kingdom is not a matter of talk, but of power!