Information vs. Transformation
We spend the whole week preparing the sunday school lesson. We pray for our kids and their families. We have all the materials. The lights are ready…the videos for the worship time…the games…the puppet stage…we are ready to rock and roll…
In the meantime Marco…a 7 year old boy is crying at home. His parents are divorced. Marco’s father promised him he’d spend every weekend with him. Marco has prepared his backpack every weekend for the last two months. Every weekend the backpack has sat in the same place, next to the door of the entrance of his house. That’s why Marco is crying…he wants to see his dad. During the small group time at church his leader asks for any prayer request. Marco’s request is simple, “I WANT TO SEE MY DAD”! His small group leader went to the children’s director but the director was too busy to notice.
This is a real story. I am that children’s director. I’m the Children’s Director for C&MA La Cumbre in Puerto Rico. We love kids and we know that they deserve the best of our service to the Lord. We know that they need the word of God. We know it is good for them to memorize it…we also know that is good to know the great stories of the Bible. But what if at the end they only have information in their brains? Our ministry is vibrant and exciting and I’m privileged to lead a strong team. But at the end of the day I want more from kids than them just repeating what we’ve been driving into their brains.
So what is the reason for children’s ministry? Do we want to just share information or are we looking for transformation? Of course we want transformation! Here are some ways I suggest you examine your ministry to find ways to improve and be more transformational.
- Small groups: Spend time hearing your kids…they are going to tell you their stories if you have time to hear them.They want to be heard. Sometimes they just don’t want to open their hearts in a big group. Stop…hear them. If you need to cut something from the Sunday experience don’t cut small group.
- Let them think: When you teach the lesson let them think. Ask open question where their answers could fit. Your teaching will become more effective if you ask questions and hear their answers.
- What. So What. Now What: Always, when you share a lesson from the Bible remember the What..So What..and Now WhatWhat: the Bible story with the characters/places/year/history background (this is important to let the know that the story that you are reading is not a fairytale)
- So what: what is the biblical truth or value that we can see on the story.
- Now What: how the story and the truth can change my life today.
- Just be you: The kids don’t need a superhero sunday school leader. They need real people who are ready to share their life and stories with them.
- The Great Adventure: Just let them be with their God…praying and reading their Bibles. He is the only who can really transform their life. As a part of the service let them find a special place to practice their devotional time and ask them to keep doing it during the week. They can share their week’s experiences during small group time.
That day..when Marco came to children’s church I was so concentrated on the program that I almost lost the great opportunity to touch Marco’s heart. I was too busy doing to notice a little child’s heart’s desire. Thankfully the Lord tapped me on the shoulder and I listened. I asked Marco if we could sit and talk. He was happy to do that. While he was telling me that he wasn’t living with his dad another kid stopped by, overheard, and said “Hey, I don’t live with my dad either”. He sat next to Marco and the boys started talking about how life was without a father at home.
Transformation is more than just a nice sticker for memorizing a Bible (I know that stickers are nice and memorizing the Bible is important) verse. It is letting kids see God working in your life, praying for the Holy Spirit do his job in their lives, and developing a relationship with them that leads them to Jesus.
Now go transform!