Special challenges in children’s ministry
1. Different cultures value children differently. Some don’t even consider children as fully human until they hit puberty. Others simply consider them less important than adults. Therefore, Christians frequently do not emphasise leading children to Christ and discipling them. World Outreach International training courses stress the biblical view of children, that they are important and precious in God’s sight.
2. Lack of support by church leaders. Sometimes this non-biblical view of children leads church leaders to think of children’s ministry as babysitting, so adults can get on with “real church”. Some believe that children cannot be truly born again or serve God. WOI leaders and mission partners often speak on behalf of children and influence leaders to think differently. We challenge leaders to allocate good people to children’s ministry and assist them to get training and buy resources.
3. There is often a lack of resources for children’s ministry. Often young people are assigned the responsibility for children’s ministry and they need culturally suitable and attractive curriculum to work from. Different WOI ministries like the Good News Team and Generation Ministries have produced curricula and evangelism material in many Asian countries. Five years ago in Cambodia, there were only a very small selection of lessons and children’s Bibles available. Then WOI (Generation Ministries) published the first full weekly curriculum of 156 lessons including colour visual aids to be used in churches and hostels. Teachers report that they are learning so much themselves! More churches are now contributing to the cost and are asking for more material.
4. Education levels are different in developing countries. So curricula sometimes need to be simplified and/or modified. WOI training seminars are also presented in a nonacademic but powerful way so as to be effective. We frequently hear testimonies like this one: “I am really touched and refreshed in this training and I have a whole new perspective of valuing the children I am trying but failing to teach. The material you provided is just what I need.”
5. The church planting movement is wonderful but it does present special challenges as far as discipling the children in multiple home church venues. WOI has a goal to work towards an integrated approach with the adult step-by-step learning process.
Please pray for the many people involved in children’s ministry.