Living what we teach children
CHILDREN’S MINISTRY is vital for establishing a sound foundation of faith. It needs to be done well to avoid possible negative outcomes. Children are concrete thinkers and can get wrong ideas quite easily. For example it’s easy for them to take hold of the concept that good behaviour is God’s priority for them because that seems to be the priority for most parents. Inherent selfishness takes maturity and years to overcome. For some kids frequent failure and therefore guilt can distort a right view of themselves as people totally and unconditionally loved by a God of grace and understanding.
Good behaviour is often emphasised at church and home so much that kids can easily believe that God only loves and is pleased with them when they are well behaved. This can overwhelm their grasp of the wonderful truth that Christianity is about believing in and following a perfect superhero called Jesus and enjoying that superhero’s love and care.
Children’s ministry workers need to be living examples of this to demonstrate what Jesus means to them in their praying, speech and personal testimony. So a principle we emphasise a lot in training workers is the importance of maintaining a close relationship with the Lord and dependence on the Holy Spirit in order to be truly fruitful. Generation Ministries and other World Outreach International children’s leaders are great examples of this, typified by this recent email from Mary who co-leads our Myanmar team. She wrote:
We enjoy Him daily. We in Him and He in us as truly one with God. The indwelling Spirit is feeding us daily. So we eat Christ, we breathe Christ, we drink Christ daily. He is our food. Our real spiritual food. Without Him we cannot live and cannot grow. Christ is our everything. He is all and in all. It is a reality.
Peter and Bev started Generation Ministries (a ministry of World Outreach) during their four years in Hong Kong ministering to Vietnamese refugees. They have been in full-time missions ministry for over 30 years after Peter’s career as a project design engineer. They headed up the New Zealand team for Asian Outreach before founding Generation Ministries.
Their ministry targets the children of Asia – particularly the restricted access nations of China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh, and North-east India. Their original goal was to see 100,000 children won to Christ.