Very, very, briefly. I want would like to make one point, or a rebuttal to the following article. I hasten to point out that I thought four of the five points are excellent. I expect to enjoy the book by Jared Kennedy and agree with most of it as well. I particularly enjoyed his point about how Children’s Ministry is not about entertaining kids*. I would have liked more, but again, the book probably covers this to a satisfactory extent.
The area in which I depart from my fellow children’s minister is in his second point, “We don’t need it.” Very quickly he goes into how he sees a need for Children’s church because Children can’t follow a sermon or visitors and unbelievers will be distracted by children. Nope, I consider this to be a straw man argument. 1. Church is not for unbelievers, it is for believers. 2. If a church is serious about battling the idol of a consumerist mindset, one of the easiest ways to do so is not have a place where kids are out of sight. Kids can and do believe in Jesus, if so they are part of the Church body. They are not some inconvenience that needs to be tucked away until they are old enough to be more interesting.
But more so, it is a lie to believe that kids can get nothing from a sermon. I remember as a kid sitting in every service. I can remember the Sunday it clicked that I was actually following the sermon and understanding it. Learning self-control before that was not exactly a net loss either. I also remember how strange it was when my family moved to a church where my sisters and I were expected to be shunted off into a children’s church and how obnoxious we found it. The next week we were back in “big people church” taking notes in the sermon because that was what we understood church to be.**
And now as a Children’s Minister I can say with confidence that when it comes to children’s church, “We don’t need it.” There are six other days of the week, and Sunday School, or Sunday evenings when kids can be taught specifically to their age. Children’s church has become a tradition, or worse, a cottage industry. It won’t die any time soon, but it should.
In the same article Kennedy encourages parents to teach and catechize their children. I vote yes. Children’s ministry is supplemental to that, and as such should remain on the periphery. Kids who are in the church should be in the church. It is part of raising them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
*I have many thoughts that will probably show up at a later date on kids just watching a screen of some pre recorded silliness. I used to hate churches just throwing in a video of Veggie Tales, but O how I now long for those days after having reviewed the current offerings pretending to be Bible Teaching…
**Ironically that church later hired my mother as the children’s minister and it became a point of contention that her own kids did not participate in the children’s ministry.