I recently had the opportunity to attend the Children’s Ministry Leadership Training Retreat hosted by the PCA’s Committee on Discipleship Ministries. The conference was held at Ridge Haven and consisted of three days of workshops hosted by leaders in the PCA with the theme of “The Long View of Discipleship.” We heard from several wonderful pastors and had fellowship with other men and women who lead the children’s ministries at their churches. It was a timely, comforting reminder that every ministry or church faces challenges, and it was encouraging to hear how God works through every single one of those challenges to sanctify His children.
One of my biggest takeaways has been a focus on the role of discipleship in the church. Jesus’ ministry included plenty of big teaching moments to crowds, but the bulk of His time on Earth was ministering through daily discipleship. He lived life with His disciples. He walked with them, ate with them, and sat with them in their struggles. He delivered small lessons and nuggets of truth in daily conversation. He led by example as His disciples watched him serve and love others.
Ministry is best done through discipleship. Solid, Biblical teaching is of course incredibly valuable and should always hold a central place at church. But when we think about what an impactful children’s ministry looks like, and what will keep our young people coming back here when they are grown, relationships and discipleship should be as important as the group lessons being taught.
We are blessed here at Covenant with an amazing team of Sunday and Wednesday teachers who show up week after week for our kids. They take the time to learn about their lives and form relationships with them, and they also impart plenty of Biblical truth and wisdom gained from decades of walking with the Lord themselves. This team includes subs who step in on a regular basis when “life happens” and a teacher can’t make it. There are also hall monitors who help kids check-in, remind them to be safe as they travel the halls, and help them find the bathroom or a Band-Aid. I am so grateful for every adult who makes it up to the Children’s Hallway each week to teach and disciple the 50+ kids who fill those rooms on a regular basis.
If you haven’t been up to the Children’s Hall recently, I would love for you to come check it out. More than just childcare is going on up there! Poke your head into any room on a Sunday morning or Wednesday night and you’ll see a room full of kids excited to see their teachers, engaged in learning about the Word, encouraging each other, developing friendships, and who are genuinely happy to be at church. Say “hi” to your child’s teacher, ask how you can support them, or just give an encouraging word or a “thank you.” Consider the ways in which you too can contribute to the discipleship of our children - whether it’s volunteering as a teacher or helper or actively praying for and encouraging those who already do. We are a covenant family, and we should all be playing a role in discipling the next generations.