Missional Children's Ministry | Becoming a Part of God's Story

(photo originally uploaded to Flickr by Wim Mulder)

Missional children’s ministries move beyond a Christian Education model of simply getting the right information into the minds of families and children. They help families and children identify with the Story of the Bible and find their place in that Story. This goes beyond a mere adherence to a moral or religious code. It requires encouragement of families and children to submit to the Holy Spirit in all aspects of their lives and follow the Greatest Commandments to love God and love others (Mark 12:30-31) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Families and children go from being spectators and imitators of God’s Story to being active and willing participants in the Story itself.

There are four keywords to describe the process of helping families and children become a part of God’s Story: discover, experience, live, and bring.

Each of these keywords is descriptive of progressive phases families and children go through in being transformed by the Holy Spirit and finding their place in the Story. While missional children’s ministries approach these phases in a progressive manner, it does not mean that these phases cannot be encountered independently of any other phase or in a different “progression.” Also, in referring to these phases as a progression missional children’s ministries do not think there is an end to transformation; these phases recur continually throughout the lives of families and children as they submit to the Holy Spirit.

What are your thoughts? Do you see a need to distinguish from an informational paradigm to a tranformational one? How do you see children and families becoming part of God’s ongoing Story?

This post is part of a larger series outlining what children’s ministry looks like from a missional mindset. Check out the other posts in this series:
Missional Children’s Ministry | A Brief Definition
Missional Children’s Ministry | Knowing God’s Story
Missional Children’s Ministry | Becoming a Part of God’s Story
Missional Children’s Ministry | Discover Who God Is
Missional Children’s Ministry | Experience God’s Love
Missional Children’s Ministry | Live God’s Way
Missional Children’s MInistry | Bring God’s Kingdom to This World
Missional Children’s Ministry | What Does This Look Like?

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4 thoughts on “Missional Children's Ministry | Becoming a Part of God's Story

  1. Nate says:

    I’m becoming more and more convinced that missionality in children’s ministry will rely on a full and high view of the Gospel and rests in a model of intentional, holistic discipleship. Because of this, my emphasis in our ministry at Emergence (emergencenj.org) is on the small group ministry rather than on the large group ministry (which is where my creative mindset loves to play). Effectiveness is required in both the large group and the small group environments, and transformational teaching can (and should) be employed in the large group environment, but life change often occurs in vivid ways through the small group environment.

    • henryjz says:

      Thanks for those thoughts, Nate. I’d love to hear how you engage the church community in such a way that this intentional, holistic discipleship isn’t solely centered around what happens in a “church” setting but permeates all of life 24/7! Also, what do you see as the differences in purposes for large group and small group settings.

  2. Annie Oosting says:

    Hi Henry,
    It was great to read your thoughts on helping kids to enter into and live out God’s story. Raising missional kids is a great passion of mine so I’m excited to see others thinking through the possibilities as well.
    I see that your working with Amy Dolan on the What Matters Now project. Did you happen to see my video on Raising Missional Kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
    Also, how have you implemented this idea in the Kid’s Ministry’s you’ve led or consulted?
    Thanks for the conversation!
    Annie Oosting, Mars Hill Kids Pastor

    • henryjz says:

      Annie, Great to see you on here! I did get to see your video on raising missional kids, and I’d love to talk more about it as well as how I’ve tried to employ a missional mindset to what I did as a children’s pastor. Shoot me an email at henryjz@gmail.com and we can set up a time to talk.

      As a brief response, though, for the sake of furthering conversation here… I ran everything we did through the filter of the eight posts that make up this series. I made sure that what we said and did supported the values of discovering who God is, experiencing his love, finding out how to best follow God, and bringing a taste of the reality of God’s Kingdom to this world. I can’t really point to any programs or events that would make what we did “missional.” Everything we did was from a missional mindset… that is a mindset that we were about participating with God in his continuing story of redeeming all of creation.

      I think I’ll have to do another post after all of this and walk through the thought process of how I’ve filtered through what’s done in children’s ministry so that what we do is from a missional mindset.

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