Children’s ministry is usually equated with something that’s mainly done by the local church. But that’s a limited perspective. The context for children’s ministry is children anywhere and everywhere. It can occur at kitchen tables, schools, sports fields, concerts, clubs, community playgrounds, hospitals, parks, the beach, the street, at birthday parties, or in virtually any place where children can be found.
Even though the context for children’s ministry should be children anywhere and everywhere; most of the training, staffing and resourcing in children’s ministry is often focused on local church ministry. This is unfortunate. When children’s ministry mostly happens in the local church, it limits the enormous opportunities, in all types of environments, to reach, rescue, root, and release children to grasp their full transformational impact in their families, communities, and nations.
That’s not to say that the local church isn’t a setting for children’s ministry. It’s a wonderful setting. But in God’s grand scheme, children’s ministry should be broadly conceived and applied (cf. Deuteronomy 6:5-9).
With the context of children’s ministry being children anywhere and everywhere, then the definition of children’s ministry should be nothing more and nothing less than God’s people participating, by faith, in what Jesus is doing among children in the world at large.
As Scott Wilcher says in The Orphaned Generation, “In Christ, we are each an essential part of an intentionally adoptive community that passes its heritage through the generations … We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and function as the incarnation of Jesus Christ to one another.”
Isn’t that wonderful? Children’s ministry involves Christians of all ages from all walks of life joining up with Jesus to connect children with Him. Children’s ministry isn’t the exclusive domain of people qualified as teachers, counsellors, social workers or pastors. Children’s ministry is people of faith from every tribe, tongue and ability doing what Jesus wants them to do among children. In a nutshell, it’s men and women, young and old, working in homes, suburbs, academies, drop-in centres, skateboard parks, campsites, and other places to invite children anywhere and everywhere to love and live for Jesus.
© Scripture Union, 2020