The Changing Dynamics of Kids’ Ministry

Ten years ago I directed a Sparks Club at a medium-sized suburban church. We had about 40 kids, many who came from church families. Each week they’d show up with verses to say and with a good understanding of what they were saying. Obviously, their parents were involved. Most of the kids listened intently to the lessons and we were able to teach them some deep truths. We had few disruptions.

I moved away from the church for a while and then was asked to come back to work in their Sparks group once again. Which I did. No longer are there a majority of church kids. Many of the children don’t attend church at all and have no knowledge of the Bible. Others don’t have the ability to read. We used to send books home with the kids without questioning whether or not they would show up at club again the following week. Now (except for a few kids), we keep the books at church.

 Sometimes when I’m teaching a lesson, I have all kinds of mental gymnastics going on in my head. Do these kids truly understand what I’m talking about even though I’m explaining it simply? Do they know what the Bible is? Do they understand the importance of the Bible? I can tell them who God is, but what does that mean to them? How can I start back at the beginning and explain this step by step without losing the few kids who do understand?

 If this church/club was unique, that would be one thing, but it isn’t. I’ve talked to many leaders and I know that the dynamic is changing in many churches.

*kids have little or no Bible knowledge.

*kids have little knowledge of God other than a swear word.

*kids fail to see the correlation between what they’re learning and their everyday life.

*kids have little parental support. (Even many Christian parents do not see the need to spiritually nurture their children.)

*kids’ lives are jammed with activities and Awana (or any church activity) is often relegated to the bottom of the priority list.

At these low moments when we think that one more boy jumping out of his chair, or one more girl interrupting the lesson will send us over the edge, these are the moments to remember that it is exactly these kids who need us the most.

Remember what Paul wrote to the Galatians: And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

 We have a challenge facing us and no, we can’t do it alone. But the Lord promises to give us strength, to give us the ability to love the kids in our group, to give us wisdom in doing what we do.

Be not weary.