Paradigms

A Vision for Future Children’s Ministry

Do you have a vision for future children’s ministry?

Pastor and author A. W. Tozer said, “We need a baptism of clear seeing. We desperately need seers who can see through the mist – Christian leaders with prophetic vision. Unless they come soon, it will be too late for this generation. And if they do come, we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name of our worldly orthodoxy.”

A fresh perspective.

It’s time, maybe over time, for our hearts and minds to grasp a fresh perspective – to realize that this generation of children needs a Jesus uprising.

“Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children, for in every street they are faint with [spiritual]* hunger.” Lamentations 2:19 (NLT) *my insert.

Many of us remember the American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. for his speech, “I have a dream.” What’s your dream for children’s ministry? I hope it’s something more than running a Vacation Bible School, starting a mid-week program, or making Kids Church fun.

This generation of children needs a Jesus uprising! Click To Tweet

We desperately need fresh vision and sanctified imagination. Can you picture this generation of children as a Jesus generation? Do you, as the Global Children’s Forum is doing, “imagine children everywhere walking with Jesus”? Can you see children stirred up and shaken? Shaken until the world is out of them, and only the good things remain in them (Hebrews 12:26-27).

More than ever before, as the Christian faith (in the Western world) seemingly slides into obscurity, we must see this generation of children through the eyes of faith. We must open our eyes to what could be – envisage a preferred prospect for children – see them released from our limitations – and picture them owning and owned by Jesus.

A God who saves.

“‘Look around you and see, for all your children will come back to you. As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘they will be like jewels or bridal ornaments for you to display'” Isaiah 49:18 (NLT).

Note the phrase “all your children will come back.” This generation of children is more disconnected from faith in Jesus than their parent’s or grandparent’s generations. They need to come back – back to Jesus – back to His Church.

Hopelessness shouldn’t be in the Christian vocabulary. Yet, that’s sometimes how we feel. We see children consumed by consumerism and sucked into secularism, and we despair. But, let’s not forget that human limitations are God’s opportunities. “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” Isaiah 59:1. Jesus can do what we can’t do. He has the power to reach a lost, godless, self-destructing generation and save it, one child at a time.

Jesus has the power to reach a lost, godless, self-destructing generation and save it, one child at a time. Click To Tweet

A return to order.

Imagine a Jesus uprising among our children – a revolution. Not a revolution of violence. The uprising that comes is a return to order – to what’s good and right. It brings a complete change in thinking. It’s counterintuitive and countercultural. God casts out the spirit of worldliness and selfishness as His light triumphs over darkness. A narrow path leads to a whole new life. Prodigal sons and daughters return. And, when they return, they do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8).

Imagine a movement of God’s Spirit among the children of the world. One where lost children are found, ordinary children live in extraordinary ways, poor children see themselves as rich, and rich children see themselves as poor. And more – picture the sick children healed, despairing children finding hope and wayward children following in His ways.

The lukewarm days are numbered! Old loyalties are ending, and new trails are forming. A spiritual earthquake is shifting the cultural landscape. There’s a growing reliance on Jesus. And the lacklustre Christianity that’s lost sight of the electrifying, all-powerful Jesus is being replaced with a radical, cascading, relentless, resilient, all-encompassing love for Him.

A vibrant faith.

Picture faith alive, confident in hope and certain about what’s not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

The future Jesus uprising isn’t short-lived. It isn’t here today and gone tomorrow. The highway to Hell comes to an abrupt end. The cross overshadows the world’s crises. Children know in their hearts that it’s safe to trust Jesus, and they do. Their longing for something finds fulfillment in someOne. And they get hooked on Jesus for life – addicted to an ongoing vibrant faith journey with Him.

Children know in their hearts that it's safe to trust Jesus. Click To Tweet

Astonishingly, it’s all a sovereign work of God. The rallying cry is, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” Matthew 19:14. Nobody is engineering it. God’s up to something! There’s no program, no prearranged process, no well-constructed talks, and no organized events. It’s a breath of heaven – an outpouring of grace.

See, He’s “doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:19). It’s a season of faith where everything is sharper, richer, clearer and deeper. It’s a time when He pours “water on the thirsty land, streams on the dry ground,” His Spirit on our offspring, and blessing on our descendants (Isaiah 44:3).

A future hope.

Do you have a cohesive vision for future children’s ministry?

I have a vision that this generation of children will one day rise up and live only and all out for Jesus. That our sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, will one day know the hope that can never be taken away. I have a vision that our descendants will be more focused on having the true love of Jesus in their hearts than on having prestige, possessions, pleasures, power, or popularity. That children everywhere will open the door to abundant life and be free to do what Jesus wants – to be Spirit-led and fulfil His purposes. And, I have a vision that children from every tribe, tongue, and nation will one day die to themselves, stand up for Jesus, bear the cross, resist temptation, be radically holy, and worship only Him.

That’s my vision for future children’s ministry. I’m praying, hoping, and yearning for children’s ministry that is world-denying, Word-driven, family-dedicated, and Jesus-directed. Will you join me?

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A vision for future children’s ministry

© Scripture Union, 2022

2 Corinthians 4:5

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