Theology matters a lot in children’s ministry. When I began in ministry, I was woefully ignorant about that. I was prepared to build a ministry around things like themes, games and environments. I spent hours upon hours each week preparing to tell kids about God. But I never took even five minutes to think about what I was actually teaching them about God!
I had bought into the myth that theology in children’s ministry is not important. But I wasn’t the only one who believed this lie. I heard other kidmin leaders say things like:
“Kid just want to have fun!”
“Theology is boring. If you make it boring, new kids won’t come. And other kids won’t want to come back!”
“They’ll get theology when they get to the youth ministry.”
We need to make sure children are having fun and staying engaged as they’re learning. But that doesn’t require us to water down the message to a few puppets and a good moral to the story. And we can’t assume kids will learn what they need to know about God at a later time. Even if they do receive such teaching, many kids will have already formed opinions and views that aren’t rooted in who God is or what He’s done for us.
As I started to dig into systematic theology for the first time, I remember saying aloud, “Wow, I wish someone had taught me this stuff years ago!” That was the lightbulb moment that helped me realize the value and importance of theology in children’s ministry.
3 Reasons Theology Matters in Children’s Ministry
1. Theology matters because it helps us clearly define what kids need to know.
We tend to focus a lot on how we teach but not enough on what we teach. Instead of looking at curriculum based on creativity or ease of use, we need to look at curriculum based on what it’s actually teaching kids about who God is and what He’s done.
We’re all teaching kids something about God. But the real question is, do we know what? Building a children’s ministry on good theology helps us define what kids need to know. Then we can structure our programming, curriculum and events toward sharing that message with as many kids as possible.
2. Theology matters because it pushes kids to want to know more.
Did you see the movie trailers for Star Wars? They were captivating yet never revealed any parts of the story! The trailers got people excited to see the rest of the movie and to hear the full story.