Urban Myths of Children’s Ministry

Worship leaders in children’s ministry aren’t as important as worship leaders in the “main” service. This myth causes worship leaders to see the “main service” as the ultimate destination and shy away from leading worship in children’s ministry. Children’s ministry becomes a place where the “leftover” worship leaders go to serve.

The truth: Worship is worship. Children’s ministry worship touches the heart of God just like any other worship. In fact, the Bible tells us that children led the way in praising Jesus in the temple. All “worship stages” are level at the foot of the cross.   

Babies and toddlers can’t understand anything at church, so there’s no need trying to do any kind of lesson for them. This myth causes churches to have no strategy for teaching babies and toddlers. This myth is closely tied to the childcare myth.

The truth: While babies and toddlers can’t verbalize their thoughts, the early years are the most critical in a person’s life. Children learn exponentially in their first three years. Churches can make a huge impact by sharing age-appropriate Bible lessons, praying with and singing songs in this age group.

You shouldn’t spend as much money on children’s ministry, since children can’t give enough to pay the church bills. This myth causes churches to spend major dollars on adult ministry and worship elements for the “main” service, while giving children’s ministry the scraps and leftovers.

The truth: Jesus tells us in Scripture that when you welcome children, you are welcoming Him. When churches make children’s ministry a financial priority, they are ushering in the blessings of God. God will bless the church financially that invests in children.

Youth ministry should be a higher priority than children’s ministry. You can see this myth play out when churches elevate youth ministry while neglecting children’s ministry. You can also see this reflected in many universities and seminaries who train youth pastors, but not children’s pastors.

The truth: The battle for the next generation is no longer in high school or even in middle school. It is in the preschool and elementary years. We are in a race for the hearts of the next generation and the first one there will win. Children’s ministry must be a top priority for churches.

If you fill children’s heads with Bible facts, they will grow up to love Jesus. This myth causes churches to stuff dozens of Bible verses into children’s temporary memories. This myth causes churches to spend much more time teaching information than application. This myth causes churches to emphasize rules over relationship.

The truth: Bible knowledge is important. We must teach not only facts, but also apologetics, to an increasingly biblically illiterate society. That being said, teaching kids how to apply and live out the truths of the Bible, is just as important. We must emphasize that following Jesus is about a relationship with Him, not about just “keeping the rules.”

Children should sit still and be quiet at church. This myth causes children to do their best to endure services and programs that are not geared for their age. This myth causes teachers to stand and lecture children, while they painfully squirm in their seats for an hour. This myth fills classrooms and hallways of churches with the sound of “ssshhhhhh.”

The truth: Children are wired to move and make noise. If we want them to grow up loving church, then we must give them opportunities to do so. Kids learn best through hands-on, active, participatory lessons. 

Children are too young to serve. This myth causes churches to place fun events on the calendar that have no long-term spiritual purpose,while neglecting to create serving opportunities for kids.

The truth: Throughout Scripture, we see children serving and being used by God to make a significant impact. Children can serve now and make a major difference in God’s kingdom, if we’ll just give them the opportunity.   

Children’s ministry is just about children. This myth is perpetuated by people who are looking in from the outside. They think serving in children’s ministry is just about ministering to kids.

The truth: Children’s ministry is one of the most difficult areas to lead in the entire church. When you lead in children’s ministry you must know how to connect with and lead not only kids, but students, men, women, grandparents, single adults and young adults as well.

Children’s ministry is also just as much about investing in parents as it is investing in children.  

Your turn. The floor is yours. What are some other myths the church has believed about children’s ministry?

This article originally appeared here.

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Dale Hudson has been serving in children's ministry for over 30 years. He is an author, speaker and ministry leader.  He is the founder and director of Building Children's Ministry. BCM helps churches build strong leaders, teams and children's ministries.  (www.buildingchildrensministry.com)