4 Things To Do In Your Own Spiritual Life To Be A Better Children’s Ministry Volunteer

1. Read your Bible

This sounds obvious, I know. All believers need to be spending time in the Word. Why?

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Scripture is inspired by God; it is God’s Word to us. If we want to get to know God and build our relationship with Him, we read the Bible.

All Scripture is useful for teaching us, rebuking us, correcting us, and training us in righteousness. When we read the Bible, we need to read it as God speaking to us. It can be tempting to be thinking of our children’s ministry kids or even our volunteers when we read Scripture. But God’s Word says that Scripture is useful for training us in righteousness. Take the time to read God’s Word and consider what God is saying to you.

Finally, Scripture is useful so the believer may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Do you wish you had more training as a children’s ministry volunteer? Your training starts in the Word of God. Scripture will equip you for the work God has gifted you to do. As you read your Bible, you will grow and become equipped to teach and influence the children in your care.

2. Study your Bible

Reading the Bible and studying the Bible are 2 different things. I have read the Bible in the past and at the end of the day realized that I don’t really remember much of what I read. Studying your Bible is about digging deeper, seeking to gain a better understanding.

Learning to study your Bible means that you don’t need to depend on what other people say the passage means. Learning to study your Bible means that you become a better children’s ministry volunteer because you will recognize wrong thinking, wrong application of a Bible passage, and you can pass on the habit of Bible study to the kids in your care.

Bible study sounds daunting. There are some great resources to help you. I highly recommend Kay Arthur’s How to Study Your Bible and Discover the Bible for Yourself.

3. Pray

This also sounds obvious. But it is much more difficult in practice. Prayer is talking with God. Prayer is such a vital part of building our relationship with God. Prayer is talking and listening. The amazing thing is that the God of the universe hears us, cares for us, and speaks to us!

It’s not wrong to practice praying. Praying is not easy and it takes determination and perseverance. Read about prayer in the Bible; look at how people prayed in the Bible; pray Scripture as worship.

As you practice prayer, it will start to affect your life and your ministry. Kids will see you and learn from you.

4. Learn theology

Don’t be scared! You don’t need to be a scholar. I will give you some easy tips to help you study theology.

Theology is the study of God.  So when I say learn theology, what I mean is study God’s attributes and characteristics. Take time to learn about God’s holiness, goodness, all-powerfulness, omniscience, omnipresence.

This is important in the life of a believer. It’s important to be able to discern truth and not be swayed by incorrect thinking.

There are many books and resources available, but be discerning. Ask your pastor for a recommendation, or choose recommendations from already trusted authors.

There are a lot of theology texts out there and most of them are huge! If you want to jump right in, then go for it! If you want to start with something a little less daunting, I recommend Bruce Ware’s Big Truths for Young Hearts. Dr. Ware is a theology professor who wrote the book because he wanted to teach his children what he was teaching his students. This is theology for kids, but it is still theology. This is a great place to start. It is easy to read and yet still challenging.

Learning theology will help you to be a better children’s ministry volunteer. It will help you teach children big truths about God and show them how to discern truth and lies.

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Book Review – Everyday Talk by John A. Younts

Words matter. The things we say in unguarded moments, the words we say in love, in frustration, at the breakfast table, and before bed reveal our attitudes, our worldview, our theology, our beliefs. This is everyday talk.

Everyday Talk is a parenting book about talking freely and naturally about God with your children. It was written to encourage parents to recognize the influence their everyday talk has on their children and to accept the responsibility they have to use that influence to tell their children about God and His ways.

“Along the path of everyday life, take the opportunity that God gives you to instruct your children.” (pg. 118)

The author uses Deuteronomy 6:4-7 as the key Scripture passage for his book.

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

The author states in the first chapter,

“The principle of Deuteronomy 6 is that your everyday comments are the ones that teach your children most profoundly about your view of God. Your interaction with God in everyday, ordinary, non-church life is the most powerful tool of influence that you have with your children. It communicates what you really believe.” (pgs 16-17)

This book is full of Biblical, practical advice for parents who want to talk to their kids about God. Each chapter has some questions at the end that encourage parents to think about the content of that chapter as it relates specifically to their kids, and practical ideas to implement the main idea of that chapter.

There are chapters on sharing the gospel with your kids; listening to your kids; giving directions; preparing your children to leave home; and talking with your children about the deceptiveness of the world, sex, and music.

An on-going issue for parents is discipline and obedience. In chapter 6, called “Big Sins, Little Sins” the author discusses the importance of consistent discipline. He talks about the tendency we have of categorizing sin. There are things we consider big sins and things we consider little sins. It is tempting to let little sins slide, but when we do, our children are being taught that obedience is not a requirement. Discipline for “big sin” and overlooking “little sins” teaches children to obey only when it seems necessary to them; it’s okay to disobey if they don’t get caught. (pg. 72)

The issue of obedience doesn’t end with parents. Ultimately we are to love and obey God.

“You cannot discipline properly until you see yourself as God’s agent to your kids…Your focus in discipline is to hold your children accountable to God.” (pg. 67)

“God wants to be loved & obeyed at all times, not just when the consequences seem great to us. You must discipline your children every time they are disobedient.” (pg. 69)

Consistent discipline is important because it gets to the heart of the issue. It helps our children understand they we obey because it is honoring to God, not simply to avoid the consequences of disobedience. Parents need to look at what is influencing their actions when they discipline and children need to look at what is influencing their actions when they choose to obey or disobey. It is the consequences or is it the best way to love God.

“Hold out for (your children) the goal of a heart that loves Christ more than the pleasures and good consequences of this life. Ask God to help your everyday talk to reflect love of God more than love of good consequences.” (pg. 77)

 

“The message of this book is that the most profound teaching your child receives is the everyday talk from your mouth.” (pg. 95) This book is an encouraging, practical, conversational appeal to parents.

“Parents, your children should hear God’s truth from your lips…They must hear God’s truth in your everyday talk. You must look out the window to your world and talk to your children about the truth of God in relation to what you see.” (pg. 120)

Children’s ministry volunteers: If parents in your ministry are looking for a practical book on Biblical parenting and talking naturally with their children about God, I recommend Everyday Talk.

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There is Huge Value in Spending Time with People Who Share Your Passion

children's ministry networkingEvery couple of months I get together with other children’s pastors in my city. We meet for lunch and catch up on each others’ lives. We talk about what is going well in our ministries and what isn’t. We talk about ideas we have for special events and programs. We seek advice and use each other as sounding boards. We share prayer requests.

I love these lunches. I find great value in attending them.

These are people who share my passion, who understand and commiserate, who laugh with me and share my frustrations.

I strongly recommend finding others in your city, town, or area who work with kids in churches. Arrange to meet every couple of months. It doesn’t have to be super-organized or formal. But find a group that you can share your ministry with.

It makes such a huge difference to know you are not alone in your desire to disciple children and partner with parents for the glory of God.

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