"We're Not Here to Entertain…" Really?

“We don’t ‘perform’ in our Children’s Ministry – we’re not here to entertain the kids!”

I’ve heard statements like this made many times over the years. Some leaders are adamant that they don’t “put on shows” for their kids.

That’s too bad.

You see, the purpose of a “show” is entertainment. The purpose of entertainment is to have fun. If the kids in your church aren’t having fun, I can pretty well assure you they aren’t learning what you want them to learn. If they aren’t learning what you want them to learn, you’re not accomplishing your purpose.

Now let me clarify: if your sole purpose is to put on a show for entertainment’s sake, then I agree that that isn’t good enough. But if your intention is to put on a show for the accomplishment of the greater purpose involving spiritual formation, then I believe it’s absolutely essential to put on the best show you possibly can.

Jesus did.

Look at John 20:30-31:

The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs … but these are written so that you may continue to believe … and that by believing in Him you will have life…”

The purpose of Jesus’ miracles were to demonstrate who He was and why He had come. These verses say that these miracles are recorded in order to help us believe and that, in that belief, we might have life (spiritual formation).

So, in essence, Jesus did something to get people’s attention – to “show” them something spiritual. John records these events and says that they are for the purpose of spiritual formation.

Isn’t that what we are trying to do? Our Children’s Ministry needs to be presented in a manner that gets kids’ attention, and in that presentation we need to communicate spiritual truth.

We need to put on a show with purpose.

Jesus did it in spectacular fashion! In fact, throughout scripture the real-life stories designed to teach us spiritual truth are pretty much always spectacular (think about it)! We can’t duplicate the way God communicates, but I do believe we have an obligation to do our best to capture attention as we teach spiritual truth.

Here are a few thoughts in regards to this:

  • Do your best. We aren’t all Willow Creek or North Point. In fact, 99.9% of us aren’t at churches like that. I love what they do and yes, there are great ideas we can take away from them, but rarely can anyone duplicate what churches of this size can do. That’s ok…do your best.
  • Keep stretching. Sometimes “doing your best” is taken as permission to settle for what’s comfortable. It’s not. Keep stretching and thinking outside the box for using the resources you have (money, space, talent, supplies, etc.).
  • Take on new talent. Creativity isn’t really a strength of mine. But bringing teams together, equipping them and releasing them to do their thing is. I’ve always tried to surround myself with people far more talented than I, and the results can be astonishing. Don’t be afraid to surround yourself with gifted people who can “put on a great show”.
  • Always keep the main thing the main thing. As you create engaging ministry, the tendency will be to focus more on the performance than the purpose. Don’t. This is where you as a leader must keep the vision before everyone in everything they do. The purpose is the “why” of the performance…keep it that way.

So what do you think about putting on a show?