by Hannelore Zimmermann, Champion for Children's Ministries
6 May 2009
During the last month I had the opportunity to attend a meeting with many of SIM’s leaders and learn about what is going on in the different countries. I’d like to share with you some of the trends and ideas I see at the moment in SIM’s children’s ministries.
- I was very much encouraged to see that several countries have made children’s ministry a high priority and are looking into ways to reach out more strategically to children. Considering the high percentage of children and youth in many of the countries we work in, and the huge opportunity to disciple a person during his or her formative years, this "trend towards children’s ministry" is an important step. Let us pray that God will call more children’s workers for new programs and projects!
- It was interesting for me to realize that in many cases when we say "children’s ministry" we seem to think immediately about projects for street children or orphans. This kind of ministry to children at risk is important and needs to be part of what we are doing. However, I’m surprised how few [projects] we seem to be doing in the area of mobilizing the church to minister to the children in their neighbourhood in holistic ways, including Sunday School and Children’s Club, but also training children’s workers that are concerned about the whole well-being of the children. What can we do to mobilize the body of Christ to reach out to the children?
- Generally I find a high interest in new ways of reaching out to children by reaching out to their families. It seems that many of us realize that children’s ministry shouldn’t be done in isolation and that sometimes we perhaps put too much emphasis on the "children's department" in the church—instead of simply making the church a place where the whole family feels welcome and each member feels that they receive what they need ... but also that they can contribute something. Perhaps we’ve taken too much responsibility away from the parents instead of strengthening them as the primary teachers and disciplers of their children. Could it be that we need new models that see children’s ministry as part of "Strengthening the Family" type of ministry. Any ideas?
- "Discipling the next generation through Christian Worldview Based Teacher Training" is another important trend right now. I would like to see more teams involved in this kind of ministries. I will write more about this topic in another edition, but I’d be very interested in hearing from you if you have experience or ideas in this area.
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