I will admit up front that I am biased, but I truly believe that churches all over the US are missing the boat by putting so little time, money and other resources to the development of solid children’s ministry. So many churches believe that if they invest in youth ministry they are covering their bases, but research has shown over and over again that if a child has not had some grounding in faith by the time they reach their tweens, they are less likely to remain faithful disciples into adulthood.
More often than not, the children’s ministry budget is one of the smallest in the church, run by volunteers or part-time staff with little to no theological education. Professional children’s ministry directors are few and far between and are usually the first staff member cut when money gets tight. However, if the church wants to reverse the current decline of those accepting a life in Christ, we need to be investing all we can in our children and their families.
A children’s ministry director is more than just someone who picks the Sunday School curriculum. A well trained director will be leader to their team of teachers; training them on how to use the curriculum to its greatest advantage and teaching them the basics of the church’s beliefs and how to relate those beliefs to the children of the church. The director will also communicate those teachings to the parents so that they are equipped to be examples of a faithful life to their children. The director will be event planner, confidant and disciplinarian, often all in the same hour time span.
I believe we are in the midst of incredible mission fields in our own communities. If your community is like mine, then less than 20% the population believes faith is important in their every day life. Not only should the church be finding ways to reach the 80% but we need to be ensuring that we don’t lose the 20% we have. Children without a foundation in faith will become parents eventually who do not understand the importance of providing that foundation for their own children.