A training course for those new to Children’s Ministry is set to raise important questions about how vital it is for the future of the Church.
”Nearly every church has some form of children’s ministry, whether that includes the regular Sunday children’s group, the Christingle service, parent and toddler groups or the annual Nativity play. It is just something that we do. However, how often do we ask ourselves the question, why do we do it?” asks Sue Mitchell, Children and Families Missioner for the Diocese of Liverpool.
“Thinking about this can really inspire those that carry out children’s ministry, and knowing the long term effects of what we do can help our work have the most impact. Children’s ministry is not simply something that keeps our children occupied whilst a main service is on, nor is it just to give them a grounding in bible stories for when they are old enough to attend ‘proper’ church. Children’s ministry is proper church, and often the ideas about God and spirituality that people develop as a child are what they carry with them for the rest of their lives.”
Sue is running an introductory training session for children’s leaders on March 14th in Southport. The first session looks at all of these issues, and uses material that is both creative and interactive. Follow up sessions will provide the practical support to live this vision by offering help with resources, insights into child development, leadership skills and programme planning.
Sue added: “Often during their teenage years, young people can fall out of going to church, but when they do come back – whether that is when they go to university or when they have their own families - they will have already experienced what it is like to be open to faith and perhaps find it easier to come back and grow in that faith. However, if we make it clear to children from a very young age that they are a vital part of church there is a strong chance that they will stay and perhaps even take on leadership roles.”
The course will also look at the impact that children’s ministry can have on all aspects of church and the family. Sue said: “Through children’s ministry we can also reach the mum who needs a bit of a break and someone to talk to, the older brother or sister who has fallen out of churchgoing or is starting to ask themselves those difficult questions about life, or the dad who might like to learn about Men’s Church or just explore faith. Children’s ministry really is at the heart of Church, and it is already playing a vital part in its future.”