In Matthew 18, we observe a scene in which Jesus brings a child into the midst of a large crowd. No doubt, as Jesus was speaking about entering into the kingdom of Heaven as a little child, the young toddler was melting the listeners’ hearts. But at the end of His discourse, Jesus gave a sobering warning. The audience no doubt hushed while Jesus scolded anyone who would offend one of these little ones. “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6b).
As we serve God’s little ones, we should remember how seriously Jesus took children’s ministry. Children’s ministry is not merely an opportunity to have the kids out of the adult service or to babysit them until their parents are done fellowshipping in the lobby. This is a time that we should take seriously as we influence and mentor the next generation in God’s Word.
We often complain about how younger generations are leaving church at any opportunity, but what are we doing now when they are in our church? How can we take children’s ministry seriously every Sunday?
In Our Values
The world is targeting this up-and-coming generation, known as Gen Z. They sit in church for a few hours a week (if that), but the agendas and advertising of the world have their ears for the majority of their lives. Through media, entertainment, and virtual reality, Generation Z is being inundated with the world’s philosophy— which is, simply put, do whatever feels good (1 John 2:16).
As children enter our classrooms, we must remind ourselves that Satan’s targets are surrounding them. We should never waste our time with activities that don’t communicate or reinforce God’s Word in their lives. Whether you have been serving in ministry twenty-five years or twenty-five minutes, let’s focus on the value of the children whom we are privileged to teach. Jesus did.
In Our Visits
Generation Z is becoming numb to real, face-to-face relationships. What can you give the kids in your class that Disney, Instagram, and Apple can never give them? A Christ-focused, real relationship. Our desire should be that these children, “May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:18–19).
Show the kids in your ministry that you are not just concerned with their time in Sunday school, but that you care about their entire lives. Drop by their homes with a surprise gift or set up an appointment to talk with their family about their next spiritual step. Show them the love of Christ, and they will love Christ in return.
In Our Voices
This generation is used to fast, bright, and captivating screens communicating to them constantly. The average Gen Z-er is used to five different screens communicating to them simultaneously, contrasting the average millennial with only two screens. The few hours (or even minutes) that we have with them should be the highlight of their week.
Use technology. Use enthusiasm. And most importantly, use your voice to teach and explain the Bible in creative and thought-provoking ways. The Word of God is the only influence in their lives that can change their eternity. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23).