How Your Children’s Ministry is Fueling the Great Commission - Radical

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How Your Children’s Ministry is Fueling the Great Commission

Between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, he gathered with his disciples on a mountainside and gave them what we now know as the Great Commission. It orders believers across the world to proclaim the gospel truth of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Colton Corter helpfully defines the Great Commission as “Jesus’ command for his followers, as members of local churches, to take the gospel to the nations to see them converted, baptized, and taught how to obey his Word.”

As Christians, we obey this call in various ways and different tasks, but the command to proclaim the gospel among the nations is for every Christian. One of the ways that we can fuel the next generation to participate in the Great Commission is through children’s ministries in local churches.

Children’s Ministry Can Teach Children to Love God’s Word

The weekly practice of teaching children Scripture and instilling a love for God’s Word in their hearts and minds can transform their lives.

The weekly practice of teaching children Scripture and instilling a love for God’s Word in their hearts and minds can transform their lives. This time can lead children to place their faith in Christ and grow in their understanding of the big story of Scripture.

When children establish a personal relationship with the Lord, they realize that the gospel changes them, shaping their identity and worldview. The gospel instills a sense of empathy and a willingness to prioritize others’ needs. When a child develops a personal relationship with the Lord and is given tools to study the Word of God, a passion to participate in the Great Commission can be born.  

Children’s Ministry Can Teach Children to Love the Local Church

Children’s ministry fosters a love for their local church, a broader global understanding, and, potentially, a heart for missions from a young age. Children can observe the everyday, caring practices of their church body. 

This could involve watching families from church bring meals to their house when they lose a grandparent or a volunteer babysitting them when they have a new sibling at home. These experiences can lead children to be keenly aware of their own need for the church and a passion to further the mission of the church through serving and loving one another. 

Children’s Ministry Can Teach Children to Have a Heart for the Nations

Many churches teach children about the work of missionaries around the world in their classes, services, or during special events such as Vacation Bible School. In my church, we use Vacation Bible School as an opportunity to teach children about our missions partners around the world. 

These settings can help children recognize their need to participate in the Great Commission and can help them identify ways to do so. In many churches, children watch their congregations send missionaries around the world and partner with them as they share the gospel and plant mature churches in hard-to-reach regions of the world. This gives children a concrete example of what it looks like to participate in the Great Commission in the context of missions.

Children’s Ministry Can Teach Children to Grow in Godly Character

As children continue to grow up in the church, they also can witness examples of how to implement spiritual disciplines into their life, which can better prepare them to participate in the Great Commission. 

A love for the Lord, faith in the gospel, love for the local church, and the development of spiritual disciplines can all begin in children’s ministries.

As children get older and move into middle and high school, church leaders and volunteers can come beside them and show them how to study their Bible, engage in prayer, and confess their sins. These practices can help them cultivate a deeper love for the Lord and can help them grow in godly character and prepare their hearts to respond to the Great Commission. 

Trust the Lord’s Timing in Your Child’s Life

At times, children’s ministry may feel like a ministry that requires an immense amount of effort and doesn’t produce much fruit. I want to encourage each children’s minister, volunteer, and parent who faithfully brings their child to church each week to press on and delight in how the Lord may be working. 

A love for the Lord, faith in the gospel, love for the local church, and the development of spiritual disciplines can all begin in children’s ministries. Each of these can spur children on to one day faithfully and passionately participate in the Great Commission.

Courtney Shiflet

Courtney Shiflet is an MS Speech-Language Pathology student at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a member of Redeemer Community Church and has extensive experience working with children with disabilities.

LESS THAN 1% OF ALL MONEY GIVEN TO MISSIONS GOES TO UNREACHED PEOPLE AND PLACES.

That means that the people with the most urgent spiritual and physical needs on the planet are receiving the least amount of support. Together we can change that!