MentorNet #26
Helping Children to Participate Actively in God’s Work

Anne Thiessen, George Patterson and Galen Currah, November 2004.
Copyright © 2004 by George Patterson. May be freely copied, translated, and distributed.
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Before Jesus fed thousands in the wilderness, He asked his disciples what resources they had. Andrew replied that a boy had five loaves and two fish. Jesus took this boy’s offering and fed the crowd (John 6:9-10). Early church writers reported that this boy later became a Christian leader. Children who take an active part in God’s work develop spiritually more readily than those who merely listen passively to teachers.

A wise Christian leader will recognize what children have to offer. If a leader lets children become bored and passive during worship and other weekly activities, then many will fail to grow up using the gifts and resources that the Master has given them.

Guidelines to Mobilize Children

  1. Children benefit from working and playing with adults and with children of different ages.
  2. Children love to act out Bible stories for adults during weekly worship.
  3. Children enjoy being creative. God has given them good imaginations.
  4. Children enjoy teaching and discipling others.
  5. Children learn well from non-verbal teaching.
  6. Most church planting movements multiply congregations that are strongly family-oriented. Many such churches are small and have no nursery, accepting the presence of children as normal. When children take an active part in worship, they know that they are an important part of the church body. When children help others understand the truths that they themselves have just learned, the truths take root in their hearts. Children will also recall the teaching better and be more eager to participate in worship. They are also more likely to grow up loving the church instead of thinking of it as a boring ordeal forced on them by their parents. Jesus welcomed children and found ways for them to participate in His ministry. He made use of their gifts and resources. We should do the same.


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