[box] i taught this workshop as a breakout session at the ETCH ministry conference in nashville, tn. below are my notes for “kids are the church of today.”[/box]

kids are the church of today, not the church of tomorrow. if we truly believe that a child is a part of the Body of Christ once they have received Jesus as Lord and Savior, why do we so often sideline them and make them wait until they are an adult to be an active part of the Church? i wish i could say i was an expert in this area, but through deep conviction and renewing of passion this past year, we made some strategic, simple changes that we are beginning to see have a big impact in our ministry to kids. in this post, we will explore ways we can be intentional about ensuring that we are preparing and purposefully helping kids be the church of today.

give them a safe place to soak up truth

  • is it a priority for all your program and events to be Gospel-centered?
  • the Gospel makes kids part of the Body of Christ, not moralism. what are you giving your kids?
  • the Word of God is alive and active, may it be your source.
    • our words don’t change lives, but His do.
    • do kids understand that the truth of God’s Word is the why and what of all you do?
  • when kids leave is it Jesus they remember?

    • i don’t want kids leaving remembering an activity. i want them to leave remembering Jesus.
    • i don’t want kids to look back and remember me. i want Jesus to be who they remember in their kid ministry years.


give them a safe place to seek Jesus

  • how are you allowing kids to grapple with the truth?
    • kids have questions and doubts.
    • if we don’t give them answer from God’s Word the world will give them answers.
    • is there a safe place for kids to ask the hard questions?
    • coming up in dawson kids, after our kids study the lesson on doubting thomas they will turn in questions they have about Jesus. we will do an interactive night of answers with me, the associate minister to children, and our new senior pastor.
  • allow room for the Holy Spirit
    • we often believe a successful lesson is one that completes every activity a curriculum has to offer. our God can often surprise us and take a lesson in a different direction if we will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and His leading.
    • sometimes we shy away from the hard lessons in scripture because we are afraid or feel unequipped to teach these truths. i believe the hard lessons can challenge us to completely rely on the Holy Spirit and we will be able to have real discussion and discovery. i blogged about my favorite tough lessons to teach here: God is mean. 
  • are you being intentional to ask questions to get to the root of what they believe?
    • sometimes it is simply easier to ask the simple questions and get the “sunday school” answers and move on. but is this really helping kid sbe the church of today?
    • while we may think we are doing a great job presenting Gospel, until we follow up with a series of questions how do we really know what the truths children grasp?
  • are kids participants or observers in prayer at your church?
    • given the opportunity, kids not only can actively participate in prayer, they can be prayer leaders.
    • kids participating in prayer time might make it a bit messy or loud, but the battlefield of prayer is messy.


give them a safe place to serve others

  • are kids setting the example of service?
    • do kids and families in your ministry see kids actively serving?
    • with our sunday smasH greeter, we are not only teaching kids to serve and greet, we are teaching them how to converse with strangers and be ambassadors to new children and families.
  • are all your service opportunities inside the comfort zone of the kids?
    • when Jesus taught service as He washed His disciple’s feet, He wasn’t worried about making His disciples comfortable. He longed to teach them the truth.
    • if we don’t push kids outside of their comfort zone as they serve, how will they learn to rely on the Holy Spirit that lives inside them?
  • do you allow the kids to brainstorm ways to serve?
    • this generation of kids longs to serve and they are sp creative.
    • when was the last time you presented the problem and allowed kids to seek God on ways they can serve to help?


give them a safe place to share the Gospel

  • we want them to share the Gospel in their schools and with others, but have we ever given them a chance to practice in a safe environment.
  • Gospel God’s plan for me is a great resource to help kids understand and share the Gospel with others. 
    • i learned today that lifeway offers several videos to use to share the Gospel truth with your kids, parents, families, and leaders. check those out here.
    • when you have a child truly get it, why not use a video of them sharing the Gospel in their own words. that’s what we did with one of our sweet 5th grade girls. check out her short video below.



  • hear the Gospel from all ages
    • recently after of kids had studied the crucifixion on a sunday, we invited over 35 adults to come share in their collide tribes what the Gospel means to them. this was such a special night to see different generations come together and discuss the cross.
    • we have been studying about the Gospel quite a bit and i got this text from a mom quoting her 1st-grade daughter, ““you know i really think the Gospel is starting to stick… like it’s sticking to my heart and it’s becoming part of my brain… Ii think that’s what those collide folks are trying to get done in the first place!”
  • practice sharing the Gospel
    • in life groups on sunday morning, our investors took time to highlight the Gospel scriptures with the kids in each of their Bibles. 
    • one wednesday night after the Gospel presentation, our tribes went back to their small group rooms and kids practiced sharing the Gospel with each other. it was so neat to see them practicing peer to peer.
    • not only did our kids hear what the crucifixion meant to adults, they got to practice sharing the Gospel with these adults in a safe place, where there was grace and helpful adults. hopefully, through practice, kids will be confident to share the Gospel in their personal mission fields. 


i believe it can be difficult to change lots of things at once, so i have added some survey questions to get you thinking about what one thing you can add, remove, or change in your ministry to help kids be the church of today.

  • are there areas where you are sidelining kid believers?
  • when will you add time for kids to ask the tough questions?
  • how can you involved kids in prayer this sunday?
  • how can you move kids out of their comfort zone on their next service project?
  • when will you add an intentional time to allow kids to practice sharing the Gospel?

[box type=”warning”] dWELL copyright © danielle bell and dWELL, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to danielle bell and dWELL with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.[/box]

this is guest post three of three from my dear friend, nancy duggin.  (read post one of three HERE. read post two of three HERE. ) she has such a heart for parents, children, and families as a whole to experience the reality of Jesus in every day life.  i look forward to how she will challenge us all as we prepare to celebrate Christmas 2013. 


past examples of extreme Christmases from others.

  • One year we began to pray I Timothy 6:18, “Be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.” God led us to give to Lottie Moon the same dollar amount that we spent on all holiday activities and gifts. One of our children wanted to empty his piggy bank, getting a gift for a classmate who had no coat.
  • We begin our conversations about giving before Thanksgiving. It proves to be the perfect time, as we focus on giving thanks and expressing a life of thanksliving. One year God led us to several individuals we were able to bless anomalously. Jesus set the example of giving without expecting anything in return. That is hard for us—hard for our children. However God blesses us with great joy as we see others being blessed by our giving and service. We left bags of groceries on the porch of a family whose dad had lost their job, a Christmas tree and lights at the backdoor of a struggling single mom and spent the afternoon of Christmas Eve visiting those in a nearby nursing home with no family. We had to be intentionally about the giving of these gift, but oh the joy we continue to experience because of our obedience.
  • We needed acts of service because our financial means are adequate; however, limited. We decided to ask God to show us service projects we could do as a family and share the reason for the hope in us. We joined our church in Christmas caroling at the homes of those who’d experienced great tragedy in the previous year, served meals at a local homeless shelter. Each of our children chose some books and toys to leave at the shelter. My wife made a big pot of soup. We took some to a recent widower on our street, spending an evening eating, laughing, and listening to him share about his beloved wife.
  • We were tired of giving gifts that no one really needed, so we agreed to give gifts of ourselves—gifts of time, memory making gifts, or Gifts for Women that they really need. We were sharing of what God had done in our lives over the past year and what we believed He was doing in our lives as we opened His word to read the record of our Savior’s birth. All this sounds wonderful—maybe even a bit “goodie-two-shoes”; however, we knew we needed and wanted to make Christ the center of our celebration—not just talk about doing so.

Jesus was always investing in others. We never read in scripture where he told the disciples to hurry up. His every step was intentional, yet he was ever so sensitive to the needs of those around Him. Do you remember when the woman touched the hem of His garment, in the midst of a large crowd? May we be that sensitive so we might become His hands and feet in our hurting and lost world.

Love, joy, and blessings to each of you this holiday season, as we rejoice and celebrate the birth of our Messiah!


Nancy Youree Duggin taught public school for 24 years and served on a city school board for four years.  She also is a mother to two and grandmother to three with one on the way. This October she will celebrate 40 years of marriage.  Even with her plate full with family and training teachers, she spends countless hours encouraging and mentoring young moms.  

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