October 18

Five Smooth Stones for Transformational Children’s Ministry

Five weeks ago, we suggested that just like David had five smooth stones to slay the giant of his age, God has given children’s workers five smooth stone to equip boys and girls to destroy the spiritual giants of their age.

These five smooth stones are the keys to transformational children’s ministry:

  1. Relationship
  2. Experience
  3. Truth
  4. Discussion
  5. Response

Transformational children’s ministry—a way of interacting with kids that helps them become Jesus’ disciples—can have a wonderful ripple effect in a community, impacting first the children and then each child’s family as well as other children and then the children’s families.

The pattern continues; the ripple effect extends its influence further and further.

Case in Point: A Child Who Led Her Family to Christ

transformational children's ministry

In a country that will go unnamed, our EGM team was holding a leadership development training program hosted in a local church and attended by leaders from several other churches.

Among those attending was Svetlana, a young woman who had a leadership role in her church’s children’s ministry. On the morning of the first training day, she told one of our facilitators that her pastor wanted to meet afterward. 

When the pastor arrived, he and the young leader sat down over coffee with the EGM team.

After some small talk, the pastor explained that he had wanted to meet with the team to encourage them. He affirmed them and assured them that their work was bearing great transformational fruit.

The pastor explained that there was a man he knew that worked all day and went out to drink vodka every evening. The man’s His daughter—twelve years old at the time—had attended a children’s ministry summer outreach program and given her life to Christ.

The program was organized by a church that had gone through a special EGM training based on the five children’s ministry principles in Deuteronomy 6—Relationship, Experience, Truth, Discussion, and Response.

Acting on what she had learned, she went home and told the family they all needed to join her and go to church that Sunday. Her father politely declined before heading to the village tavern for his evening drinking.

He ordered his usual vodka with his friends, but when he tried to drink it, he became sick to his stomach. After a second effort failed, he went home worried that he had some physical problem. The next evening brought the same results and changing vodkas did not help. 

Finally, he got an appointment to see a doctor. After a thorough examination, the doctor gave him a clean bill of health. He returned home, and his daughter suggested that God had made it impossible for him to drink vodka and that he needed to go to church.

When Sunday morning arrived, the vodka-loving dad relented and took the entire family to church. Over the next few weeks, he came to understand the message of the gospel, repented, and surrendered his life to Christ. After serving in the church as a volunteer, he followed God’s call into ministry.

The man’s daughter, he explained, had come to Christ as a young girl, and God had used her faith experience to bring the whole family to Christ.

This pastor concluded his story by telling the EGM team that the girl in his story, Svetlana was his own daughter. She was the little girl who had led him and his entire family to Christ and now she was teaching children in the church her father pastored. 

Foundation Stones for Transformational Ministry

In churches around the world, children—and their families—are blessed by transformational ministry. In The Almighty’s Children we have made the case that there are five essential ministry elements found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

We have also worked to show that these five elements were present in Jesus’ ministry as well as the Apostle Paul’s. These five elements are key for developing a transformational children’s ministry.  

These five ministry principles are summarized below:

Relationship

MCW Relationship
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. (Deuteronomy 6:4-6)

Transformational children’s ministry is relational ministry. In a relationship time with their leaders, children experience for themselves the amazing love of Christ.

They also learn from their leaders’ example what it looks like to live with Jesus as the Lord of every aspect of life. The Holy Spirit works through these honest, caring relationships that ministry workers develop with the children to bring life change and genuine transformation.

Experience

MCW Experience
… sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:7)

Experience is a crucial element of the learning process, and experiential teaching helps connect biblical truth to the children’s real life. Experiential teaching engages both the heart and the mind of boys and girls.

Truth 

MCW Truth
Impress them on your children. (Deuteronomy 6:7)

Children need to hear Bible Truth—and they need to hear it repeatedly. After all, the Word of God is more than a collection of stories, doctrines, and ideas. It is life-changing truth that teaches us who God is and who we are. \

The Bible is the handbook for living the life God intends for all children. Its truth stands at the core of God’s transformational work. 

Discussion

MCW Discussion
Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:7)

Connecting the Word of God to the children’s real life is essential to our being able to effectively minister to them. Transformational children’s ministry means the workers engage the children by talking about the Truth of God’s Word and, in that context, about the challenges they face at home and at school.

Discussing what God’s Word says about specific aspects and certain circumstances in their real life helps children understand the Bible and come closer to experiencing its relevance. 

Response

MCW Response
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:8-9)

Helping boys and girls respond to the truth revealed in God’s Word is every teacher’s goal. So transformational children’s ministry makes sure that children are given the opportunity to respond to God’s Truth.

This putting into practice what they learn is the next crucial step on the path toward life transformation. When we keep on responding to God’s truth, He changes us. In fact, He transforms us into the likeness of Christ!

These five elements—Relationship, Experience, Truth, Discussion, and Response—are the building blocks of a transformational children’s ministry. The Word of God comes alive for children and speaks into their real life in a fresh new way.

In fact, thanks to these building blocks, many boys and girls experience the Bible’s relevance for the first time ever. Having a personal relationship with Jesus takes on new meaning, and church is not just where adults make them go.

Instead, church is a source of joy, friendship, and a sense of belonging. The entire process looks something like this: 

Transformational Ministry Process (May 2021)

One More Essential

Real, genuine, and authentic children’s ministry would not be complete without hand motions. After all, everyone knows that hand motions are essential elements of children’s ministry 😊.

So, to ensure the effectiveness of the Deuteronomy 6 model, we have created some hand motions to represent—and to help you remember—each of the five elements.

We have taught these hand motions to thousands of leaders around the world, resulting in a sort of ministry subculture, and these hand signals are a sign of membership 😊.


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