There are so many roles parents pay “specialists” to fill outside the home. Things like music lessons, sports training, and after-school tutoring – but there is also a tendency for this mindset to apply to spiritual growth and discipleship too. Many kids ministry leaders that I’ve spoken to this past summer have expressed how they feel the expectation to handle the spiritual formation of kids while they are at church.
The role of kids ministers in spiritual formation at the church is important, but discipleship happens best when parents lead spiritually.
Parents need to hear this … yes. But kids ministry leaders cannot just sit back, fold their arms, and bemoan the fact that parents aren’t getting the memo. Church leaders have to understand and identify their function in spiritual formation of kids under their care.
3 Roles of Kids Ministers in Spiritual Formation
- stand-in — You must sometimes stand in the gap to fill that role for kids with no home support. In every community there are broken families and unreached families. The way to reach these families may be through your role of spiritual investment in the kids, who will go home and talk with mom & dad about what they are learning.
- cheerleader — There are families who may be under your care who excel at discipling their kids. Find every opportunity to encourage them for choosing to talk about the things of God with their children, and you may even see ways to partner them with other young parents who are hungry to grow in spiritual leadership with their kids. These families deserve your encouragement and affirmation, but you can still be available to them as a resource for conversations they are having with their children.
- catalyst — Most often, I believe you’ll encounter families with a general idea that they should be doing something at home, but lack the vision, drive, or discipline to do it. These families are in danger, and they need your influence to help spur them towards spiritual growth. They are at risk of raising “cultural christians” instead of disciples. Don’t get discouraged – they won’t always “get it.” But seek out new ways to encourage and challenge them to lead their kids with an investment of their hearts, their words, and their time at home.
The role of kids ministers in spiritual formation cannot be overstated … you have been called by the Lord to shepherd families in your community. Know that shepherding different ones will look differently -but all of these families can benefit from your time and investment.