Today for Leadership Journal I speak with Larry Fowler, the executive director of global networking for Awana and Kidzmatter. I’m a huge fan of Awana, having grown up in it and now seeing my children through it. It’s a powerful ministry that helps ground the truth of Scripture into the hearts of children.
Today I talked with Larry about children’s ministry.
Your newest book talks about seven principles of effective children’s ministry, and they are all based on Scripture. So give me an example—what would change if we used Scripture as the designer?
If we did children’s ministry according to Scripture, then parents would be primarily responsible for their child’s spiritual growth, and we would assist them, not the other way around. Parental spiritual leadership is pretty much on everyone’s radar right now. A concept that ministry leaders aren’t thinking about is what I call the significant “one”. Jesus, in Matthew 18, repeats the word “one” in this passage about children: don’t offend one, don’t despise one, and don’t lose one. Individuals were always important to Jesus, and if we are not careful, we can minister to groups of children and think we are doing okay, when in fact we are not.If every single child is significant, and we are concerned that we don’t offend or despise or lose one, then our registration and record-keeping processes will not only be used to see who comes but are used as tools to follow up with those who stop coming. Our structure will provide opportunities for our teachers and leaders to develop deep relationships with children (they come for the fun, but they stay because of a relationship). And we will train our volunteers to have a shepherd’s mindset toward every child they minister to.