November 22, 2006
To be effective with kids, a ministry must address the whole child
Church leaders spend a great deal of time looking for the ministry model and resources that will be most effective with their children…and there is never a lack of alternatives for them to consider. Exciting activities and colorful, engaging materials certainly attract attention while comprehensive Bible study materials seem to guarantee the opportunity for learning. In their pursuit of just the right approach for their ministry work with kids, leaders can be easily pulled in many directions while worrying if any is the “right” one for their church.
At LOGOS, we believe that an effective ministry approach with children (or with any age group, for that matter) must be balanced in its ability to challenge the whole child en route to a saving relationship with God through Jesus. The mind must be stimulated by learning, the body must be involved in doing, and the soul must be nourished through worship. In fact, the traditional LOGOS four-part ministry program design has successfully supported this balanced approach to the benefit of tens of thousands of children during the course of the last 43 years.
We have seen that when a balanced ministry approach is applied, and the involvement of dedicated Christian adults leads to solid inter-generational relationships…kids grow as young disciples.
Is your approach to ministry with children adequately balanced?
November 15, 2006
In today’s society it takes more than parents to raise children…it takes a community of loving adults.
In his new book, All Kids Are Our Kids, Peter L. Benson, PhD. (President of Search Institute) makes a very important point regarding the current status of child rearing in the U.S., “Despite all of our efforts, programs, and investments to give young people adequate support and encouragement, many young people in today’s society still aren’t close with caring adults outside of their family.” Dr. Benson paints a vivid picture of a culture in which kids aren’t welcome in certain public places, where they can’t find safe places to hang out, or where they find it difficult to get involved in programs that are designed just for them.
Search Institute has historically represented a clear point of view on child development through their Developmental Assets research and model. In his book, Peter Benson updates this critical thinking and discusses action strategies for better alignment of communities with the needs of kids. He also summarizes key learnings derived from decades of experience with the assets approach being used in communities.
LOGOS supports the work of Dr. Benson and Search Institute as it relates to the healthy development of children. And we certainly echo his claim that kids need to be in relationship with loving Christian adults beyond their parents. LOGOS’ approach to effective ministry with children has always featured cross-generational relationships between kids and adults…to the benefit of both.
How is your ministry with children bringing kids and adults into healthy, ongoing relationships?
November 10, 2006
Leading children to Christ today will likely require some new ministry approaches
If ministry is about serving others and leading them into faithful relationships with God through Jesus Christ, then effective ministry must relate directly to their needs and the circumstances of their lives as they exist at the time. Today, the needs of our children are evolving in response to a dynamically changing environment of new family structures and living arrangements; increasingly disparate family economic situations with some children living in poverty or near-poverty conditions; the variations of learning experiences resulting from kids attending public school, private school, or home school; the increasing influence of technology in all aspects of life; and, in general, as a result of what Walt Mueller (President, Center for Parent and Youth Understanding) calls the “cultural soup that our kids swim in every day.” These factors are constantly creating needs in our children that our ministries have never had to deal with before. As a result, children’s ministry must continue to evolve in order to sustain its relevance in the lives of our young people….in order to serve them effectively.
At LOGOS, we understand that a strong ministry model can be the foundation of a successful children’s ministry, but that we must be ready to reshape it to fit the emerging needs of our children. By remaining open to the circumstances and factors that may affect the church’s kids and correlating them with key aspects of the ministry, church leaders can help to maintain the relevance of their service to children. This openness to transformation is a critical aspect of the organic nature of ministry – changing to live in a new world. The message always remains the same, but the method must be adapted to reach those in need.
How are you looking for ways to ensure the continuing relevance of your children’s ministry…to bringing kids to Christ in today’s culture?
November 10, 2006
Despite the rise of e-mail, cell phones and instant messaging, kids prefer face-to-face contact with others
A recent study compiled by Alloy Media & Marketing and Harris Interactive found that the vast majority of “tweens” (8 to 12) prefer to talk with friends in-person. The survey covered 1,487 kids (8 to 18) in a nationwide poll that assessed the group’s communications habits and preferences.
Despite the continuing rise of technology-based communication options, 81% of the “tween” group chose in-person communications over instant messaging, e-mail, and cell phones as their preferred method. This preference was somewhat weaker for the 13 to 18 age group (53%), but did show that face-to-face contact still rules. The study also identified a trend that continues to emerge. That is “online-only” friendships in which kids establish relationships with others whom they never actually meet in person, but with whom they sustain ongoing communication.
At LOGOS, we have always felt that relationships between children and teens – and between kids and adults – represent a timeless and powerful human need. Relationships are also at the center of effective ministry. For ministry leaders, we say, “Make the most out of the in-person time you have with kids. Build trust and establish a sustainable relationship that will allow you to communicate effectively with them in any, and all, ways.”