June 15, 2010

Children's Ministries

Children's Ministries

Linda Koh, Director reports koh capDo you believe that the children sitting in our pews each Sabbath are the future members and leaders of our church? Children are the future of this church. It is this generation who will take God’s church forward. Therefore, we must involve children in ministry and start mentoring them now.

Research has shown the urgency of investing our time, effort, and finances in children now instead of later. Barna Research Group reports that 32 percent of those who choose to accept Jesus do so between the ages of 5 and 12; 4 percent for those in the 13-18 age range; and 6 percent for people ages 19 or older. In other words, if a child does not accept Jesus as their Savior before they reach their teenage years, the chance of accepting Him later on is very slim. Today many children are making decisions to follow Jesus. They are crucial to the growth of our church now and in the future.

Therefore, the mission of the Children’s Ministries Department is to nurture children into a loving, serving relationship with Jesus. To fulfill this purpose, Children’s Ministries provides multiple ministries that are grace-oriented, inclusive, leadership-empowering, service-oriented, cooperative, safe, and evangelistic.

Children’s Ministries in all levels of the church organize many nurturing programs that involve children not only on Sabbath but also throughout their week. Children have the opportunity to participate in small groups, retreats, camps, evangelism, preaching, and outreach to the community. For teachers and others who work with children, we provide training to equip them for ministry.

At the General Conference Children’s Ministries Department, a number of significant advances have been made in the past quinquennium to facilitate leadership training, nurturing, disciple-making, and resource development for children.

In response to the need for resources and other materials for children’s leaders and for children, the department has developed the following resources:

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These are the faces of the future of this church. Children’s Ministries is committed to building up our children to carry the church into the future.

  • 100 Creative Ways to Learn Memory Verses, by Karen Holford—a great teaching tool for teachers to help children memorize Bible verses in a fun way.
  • GraceLink Bible Timeline—this beautiful timeline helps children learn about the chronology of the Bible as they study the GraceLink lessons every Sabbath.
  • God Loves Me 28 Ways, by Charles Mills and Linda Koh—the children’s version of the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
  • Learn About God’s Love Activity Book—includes puzzles, games, and activities that enhance the children’s understanding of each of the fundamental beliefs.
  • Sing About God’s Love Songbook and CD—these are songs that children could sing to reinforce their understanding of the fundamental beliefs.
  • “Tell a Child, Tell the World”—initiative of the General Conference worldwide. Buttons with this message in English, Spanish, and Portuguese were given to leaders, parents, church members, etc., to tell children about the gospel, who in turn will tell other children.
  • Sharing Jesus Bookmarks—colorful bookmarks that suggest a variety of ideas for children to share Jesus with their friends and siblings can be given to children.
  • God Loves Me 28 Ways TV Program Scripts—these are developed for the Hope Channel television series that will be produced for children soon.
  • Let’s CELEBRATE Good Health!—the children’s version of the health program CELEBRATIONS produced by the General Conference Health Ministries Department. This is a great resource for teaching children how to maintain good physical and mental health. It is due for release during the summer of 2010.
  • Week of Prayer Readings—the children’s Week of Prayer readings are produced annually according to the topics of the adult readings.
  • 2009 Year of the Child Celebration; “Children First”—to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary celebration of this United Nations event, special resources were produced:
  • “Children First” and “We Need to Go” songs on DVD
  • Year of the Child magnets for children
  • “Fun Ideas to Celebrate Year of the Child” brochures
  • Mission Cards for Kids—these packs of 12 cards highlight children featured in the mission stories for each quarter and can be used as prayer cards for children to pray for those children in the mission field. This is a collaborative effort with the department of Adventist Mission.
  • “Follow the Bible for Kids” Reading Guide—this is the annual Bible-reading guide published in collaboration with the Council on Evangelism and Witness to encourage children to study their Bible daily.

Leadership Certification
The Department of Children’s Ministries collaborates with the Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Department in training teachers and leaders how to use GraceLink, the new Sabbath School curriculum for children.

The Leadership Certification program serves as a useful tool for further training children’s leaders and teachers in knowing how to lead children to accept Jesus, how to impact other cultures for Christ, how to make family worship fun and easy, and more. All courses are produced on a CD with PowerPoint presentations and are available on the Children’s Ministries Web site.

A Worldwide Ministry for Children
During the past quinquennium the departmental director has visited all 13 world divisions, providing mentoring, support, and in-service training for children’s ministries directors in more than 30 countries. Besides equipping the adults, training is also provided for children as they participate enthusiastically in witnessing, preaching, praying, and outreach to the community.

One of the challenges we face in children’s ministries is to continue to inspire and motivate our churches to rediscover the importance of children. Let’s face it. Building the church of tomorrow begins with the children of today. We have to put our children first.