This post has been percolating for a couple of weeks now, but in light of all the (somewhat ridiculous) angst leading up to the President’s address to the children yesterday, and Grady’s post today, it seemed like a good time to throw it out there.
Why do we do children’s ministry? Especially in a church planting—missional context? The obvious answers are: It is easier to reach kids. They don’t question your motives or argue with your teaching. There is a hope that if the kids are reached, the parents will follow. And, admit it… it is easy.
The problem is that all of these reasons are questionable at best. Kids are impressionable. However, how would you like it if some well funded Muslims showed up at your local park to do children’s ministry. It is not necessarily nice to take advantage of the fact that kids don’t question your motives, because frankly, children’s ministry of this sort does have ulterior motives. They may be good motives, but do the parents of the kids think so? Due to that fact, there is a lot of doubt that reaching kids will translate into reached families. (The truth is that the other way of working—reaching parents to get the kids—works a whole lot better.)
So maybe children’s ministry, an attractional model by the way, should not be at the top of anyone’s list of strategies for reaching an area.
Then there is the whole other uncomfortable side of children’s ministry in the church itself:
How much damage have we done over the decades by reducing the Gospel down to the simplest of formulas and teaching generations of kids that Jesus is just some guy you “magically” “ask into your heart” as a “savior” and then you won’t go to Hell? There is an argument to be made that we have perverted the true Gospel enough that most of the Evangelical Ghetto has a false understanding of what the Christian walk is really all about. We have little understanding of Lordship, surrender and sacrifice.
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