May 31, 2007
Delivering a ministry that really works is a challenging, yet worthwhile objective for all churches…
Children matter to God so they better matter to us in the church. We have been claiming without reservation how important it is to support the spiritual development of children within families and in churches…and how those efforts should be linked by purpose and function in unison. Building a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the most important thing in the lives of our children…and, in fact, in our own lives also.
So, how can churches be sure that their efforts in children’s ministry are properly focused and are working productively toward such a critical goal? At LOGOS, we have tried to answer those questions by translating our more than 40 years of ministry experience into a model, or framework, which defines the characteristics of ministry effectiveness. The resulting Ministry Effectiveness Model has been developed for those churches who use a LOGOS-style ministry model and for those who don’t. Generally, it includes characteristics in three broad categories:
• Purpose – intent and objectives of the ministry within the church’s broader mission
• Practicality – approach, plan and resources to support the ministry
• Impact – capability to produce results that matter
If churches are going to be effective in their service to children, they must engage in constructive dialogue about their ministries and commit to discovering ways to improve them. To support churches in that process, we use our effectiveness model to facilitate their efforts toward probing the fundamentals and seeking specific opportunities for improvement. The criteria that comprise our models help leaders to pinpoint key elements of ministry and to target symptoms that may indicate ministry ineffectiveness. In the final analysis, the model is a great tool for guiding a church’s ministry planning, development, and problem-solving initiatives.
You can find the LOGOS Ministry Effectiveness Models in the library on our web site.
View the Children’s Ministry Effectiveness Model Webinar
Listen to our podcast: Is your Children’s Ministry Effective?
May 24, 2007
Parents must be at the forefront of raising children, but they need the support of the church
Continuing in our theme from last week and looking further at George Barna’s book, Revolutionary Parenting, it seems apparent that in one hour or even three hours a week the church cannot raise up Spiritual Champions all by itself. In fact, the primary role belongs to parents and the support role belongs to the church. The church needs to be the place where parents:
• Find emotional support especially from a Christian perspective, and in difficult times.
• Build community with other parents for networking and support. This helps parents to realize they are not alone and others share the same experiences.
• Receive direction, ideas, training, and support for spiritual nurturing of their children.
• Become motivated and grow in their personal relationship with God.
• Are assisted in connecting their families to the body of Christ in worship, service, and as a place to belong.
Churches that take this challenge seriously can become a resource where not only is there parental support, but where there is connection to friends who share similar views, values, and morals. Children are given a place to belong where they are accepted, nurtured, put in community with healthy relationships, connected to other caring adults and, most importantly, where the faith formation at home is supported and re-enforced. The problem is: “How can this take place if children and families are not a priority of the church?”
Both from a parenting perspective and a church perspective, I wonder, “Are we failing our children spiritually?”
Listen to our podcast: Are Parents or The Church Failing Our Children?
May 18, 2007
Research shows that our parenting efforts are not consistently producing the results we hope for…
Based upon some key outcome measures, our efforts to raise our children seem to be really failing them. In his new book, Revolutionary Parenting, Christian researcher George Barna points to some very disturbing statistics about the spiritual formation of today’s children. Barna states that:
- Most of our children are biblically illiterate.
- Less than one out of five kids believes that sharing her faith is important; and
- Less than half believe that their faith is important to their lives; and
- More than half believe Jesus sinned just like us while he was on earth.
- One quarter of our children do not believe there is a God; and
- Just over half believe that God is all-knowing, all powerful, and rules over creation.
As Barna identified and examined the common experiences that help children grow up to be “spiritual champions”, he discovered that parents are the key element in this developmental process. In addition, Barna points to the critical role of the church by stating that “…ministry to children is the single most influential ministry any church engages in.”
So, that leaves us to wonder whether we as parents are failing our children when we are not raising them in the spirit of Deuteronomy and, “… teaching them God’s word at all times in all places during our days together…” And is the church failing them and their parents by not making ministry to children and families a top priority?
Are we failing our children? What do you think?
May 11, 2007
This mega church has placed a high priority on children…with dramatic results
So, how does a mega church choose to minister with children, and is it all show and no go? I went to NewSpring Community Church ( www.newspring.cc) to see how they live out what is stated as their number #2 priority…children’s ministry. They have placed worship as their first objective. So, after an extremely gracious and tremendously hospitable visit during which people bent over backwards to show me around and spend time with me, I identified three things I learned while at NewSpring:
1. They are passionate about children’s ministry. Introducing children to Jesus at NewSpring is as important as introducing adults to Jesus. It was not all about entertainment and WOW, but was much more about the substance of ministry.
2. Sunday mornings at NewSpring are modeled on what we at LOGOS call the foundational elements of ministry to children. These are:
- Theology of Relationships – where there is a focus on relationships with adults, peers and God.
- Process of Call – through which adult leaders are engaged in ministry in a way that is much more than just putting any volunteer in any slot
- Balanced Ministry – that reaches the whole child…mind, body and soul…and not just mind feeding or entertainment.
3. Perry Noble, NewSpring’s Senior Pastor, supports the children’s ministry whole heartedly and this is key to its effectiveness. When I asked him how he responds to adults who say there is too much focus on children and not enough on adults he said, “ I tell them when we have children in our midst, we as adults must give up our rights, privileges and desires and accept our responsibility to reach young people for Christ doing whatever it takes to do so.” After my visit, he wrote an entire blog on this subject which you can read here.
Without a doubt, this church is not just about bells and whistles, but is intentional about reaching kids for Christ. Being passionate about this commitment with the support of the senior pastor is extremely important. In fact, this week’s LOGOS podcast is an interview I had with three children’s leaders at NewSpring in which they discuss how important children are to the church’s life. I interviewed, Jason Moorhead (Chief Operations Officer), Pudge Huckaby (Elementary School Pastor), and Cherie Duffey (Early Childhood Director). I am sure you won’t want to miss this.
Listen to our podcast: Children rule at NewSpring Church
May 4, 2007
A balanced ministry approach will eventually result in “going out” to serve others.
One of the fundamental building blocks at LOGOS is the notion of balanced ministry. That is, a ministry that comprehensively addresses multiple aspects of Christian nurture on a concurrent basis. For LOGOS, this occurs along two key dimensions. First, we address the child’s heart, body and mind with our multi-part program approach. The whole child is ministered to in an integrated way in order to produce the most effective nurturing result. Secondly, LOGOS emphasizes both learning and practicing the faith to facilitate the child’s growth into discipleship as an active process of development.
In this context then, mission represents the next step in extending the nurturing and growth of children by shifting the emphasis from the ministry serving the kids themselves to helping them learn to serve others. This is one practical way for children to see their role as young disciples whom Christ directs to “go out” and be of service to those in need. The powerful lesson of service, learned at a young age, can then be built upon and reinforced over time as young Christians grow to become tomorrow’s church. To support this effort, LOGOS is now including training for church leaders on how to include a mission component in an overall children’s ministry model.
But that’s not all! The LOGOS Ministry is also “on a mission.” We are going to be serving John Knox Presbyterian Church in Youngstown, OH during the week of June 11th by painting, cleaning and doing some minor repair work around the church. Follow our preparations and our day-to-day experiences at John Knox by checking in with the LOGOS staff at our new mission website www.myspace.com/logosmission. Visit the site often and leave us a message…or a prayer.
Listen to our podcast: Mission and Ministry are Key