Do You Have a Purpose?

Question mark in the skyThe word purpose means the reason for which something exists. This is the starting point. Do you know why children’s ministry exists in your church? Do you know why Sunday School exists in your church? How about VBS or clubs?

Why do you exist?

This is the question you need to answer first. Your purpose will state why you have children’s ministry in your church. Most churches will have the same purpose and that’s okay. A purpose is more general in focus. For most churches, children’s ministry exists to introduce kids to Jesus and disciple them. This is the general purpose. The specifics of how it plays out are unique from church to church.

Here is an example of a purpose statement for a children’s ministry: “We exist, for God’s glory, to introduce kids to Jesus and disciple them as Christ-followers that they might introduce the next generation to Jesus and make disciples of them.”

Why is a Purpose Important?

A purpose is important because it defines your children’s ministry or program. Once you know what your ministry is, you can make decisions on what to include, how to run certain programs, and when to shut down certain programs. Knowing your purpose helps you choose curriculum and set the schedule and routine.

Having a purpose gives you a tool to evaluate. It lets you say ‘no’ to things that may be good but don’t fit your purpose.

A Purpose Can be General or Specific

A purpose statement can be written for the children’s ministry as a whole or it can be written for specific programs. For example, the Sunday School can have a purpose statement.

Once you know the purpose for your ministry, it’s time to move on to the mission of your ministry. What is mission and why it is important for children’s ministry is the topic of the next article in this series.

Purpose, Vision, and Goals in Children’s Ministry Series:

Introduction – Purpose, Vision, and Goals in Children’s Ministry

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Purpose, Mission, Vision, and Goals in Children’s Ministry

Purpose Mission VisionI can understand the temptation to jump right in. You are the new children’s ministry leader at your church or maybe you are the Sunday School Superintendent or maybe the pastor has asked to you take on the VBS program at your church. Whatever it is, the temptation is to jump right in and get to the fun stuff. But when you give in to that temptation, you don’t take time to think about why you are running this program or what you hope to accomplish.

Maybe you have been leading children’s ministry in your church for a while. Maybe you have been doing VBS for years. Maybe you have been teaching Sunday School for as long as you can remember. You’re plugging along. Things are going fine, but when you stop to think about it, you are not really getting anywhere. Chances are you know the purpose and mission of your ministry, even if it’s not written down anywhere. But maybe you don’t have a vision for that ministry or maybe you haven’t fleshed out your vision. Maybe you haven’t created any goals that will help you accomplish big things in your ministry.

Purpose, Mission, Vision, Goals

Children’s ministry is so important that any leader needs to take the time to start at the beginning and outline the purpose, mission, vision, and goals for the ministry (no matter how long they’ve been at it!)

Some of you might be groaning, but this isn’t just boring paperwork. This is the fun stuff! This is where you get to dream big for the ministry you are involved with and more importantly for the kids you are serving.

This is where you get to answer big questions like “Why does this ministry exist?” and “What are we going to do?” and “How are we going to get there?”

For any ministry you are involved with, whether you are leading or volunteering, it’s important to know why you are doing it and what you hope to accomplish. This is where you get to figure out the big picture and help others see the big picture.

In this series, I’m going to explain what purpose, mission, vision, and goals are and why they are important for your ministry.
The series will start with purpose. The big question to ask when figuring out purpose is “Why does this ministry exist?” Next, we’ll move onto mission and ask, “What are we going to do?” Third is vision, “How are we going to get there?” And finally, I’m going to help you write some goals that will help you fulfill your purpose and make your vision a reality.

Purpose, Mission, Vision, and Goals in Children’s Ministry Series

Introduction – Purpose, Vision, and Goals in Children’s Ministry

Do You Have a Purpose?

Is Your Mission a Secret Mission?

How’s Your Vision?

How to Write SMART Goals

 

 

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Why Biblical literacy is an issue that every Children’s Ministry leader needs to address

biblical literacyI read some articles and blog posts the other day that were centered on the issue of Biblical literacy.

One blogger I read said they were concerned that a focus on Biblical literacy would mean making a relationship with God less important. In another article, the author calls Biblical illiteracy a crisis and “the most dangerous threat to the viability of the Church in America”.

What is Biblical literacy?

Biblical literacy is knowledge of the Bible. But it’s about more than just having memorized all 66 books of the Bible and knowing the 10 Commandments. Someone who is Biblically literate understands the big picture story of the Bible. The Bible is not a book of stand alone stories; it is one big story – the story of God and His people.

Biblical literacy is hugely important. We need to know the Bible because that is where God reveals Himself to us.

In his book, Revolutionary Parenting, Christian researcher George Barna states that most of our children are Biblically illiterate and that more than half believe Jesus sinned just like us when He was on earth.

Biblical literacy is crucial for our kids because the Bible is where we get to know God. God chose to reveal Himself to us primarily through His Word – the Bible. Our kids need to know the Bible. Not so that they know that Zephaniah comes before Malachi, but that they understand that the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Zephaniah keeps His promises. As they read and are taught how everything fits together and begin to understand the chronology of the Bible, they will see that over and over again, God keeps His promises. And maybe they will come to trust our faithful God. They will see that God is holy and that people are sinners. They will see that our holy God made a way for sinners to be saved because He is loving and merciful and gracious.

If our main goal is making disciples, Biblical literacy needs to be an important part of our educational strategy. We want kids to know, love, and follow God. The primary way our kids will get to know God is through the Bible.

So teach your kids to love their Bibles! Encourage your kids to be reading their Bibles; help kids understand how to navigate their Bibles; encourage them to become familiar with the books of the Bible. Not just so that they can say they have memorized all 66 books of the Bible, but so that they can get to know the God of the Bible.

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How do you develop a vision statement for your children’s ministry? Part 3 – Get the Word Out

You have finished brainstorming and created a single sentence vision statement. The last step in this vision-creating series is to make sure that everyone knows the vision for children’s ministry in your church.

You want everyone in children’s ministry to know and champion this vision. Gather your volunteers for a training day. Tell them how you arrived at your vision. Then offer them a tangible reminder of it. Creating bookmarks with the vision statement on them is a good idea. Encourage your volunteers to keep their bookmarks in their Bibles or curriculum binders. Encourage them to use the vision as they pray for their kids. It is also very important to tell your volunteers how they will be a vital part of seeing this vision fulfilled in the lives of the children in your church.

You also want the pastor and parents and other members of your congregation to know it as well. Knowing the vision statement shows them how to begin praying for the children of your church. It also shows them the value of children’s ministry. Arrange a meeting with the pastor and maybe even the board of elders or deacons. Present the vision to them.

Ideas for spreading the word about your vision include:

  • on your church website
  • on bookmarks
  • on posters
  • on letters
  • on registration forms
  • your email signature

Take some time at the end of your brainstorming day to think of ways of getting the word out creatively in your church community. Make it very visible. The goal is to have everyone be able to share the vision statement if asked.

 

A vision statement is a dream of what you want the kids in your ministry to be like once they leave. But it should be an attainable dream. You should be able to see it working out in the lives of the kids you minister to.

Dream big for your kids and then do all you can to fulfill that vision!

 

How do you develop a vision statement for your children’s ministry? Part one – Brainstorm, Part two – Create a single sentence vision statement, Part three – Get the word out.

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How do you develop a vision statement for your children’s ministry? Part 2 – Create a single-sentence vision statement.

You have completed your brainstorming session and you have the bones of your vision statement. Now it’s time to write the vision statement for children’s ministry in your church.

It’s your job to take the things you have highlighted and/or the larger categories you have created and write in a single sentence. This could take a while to get it down to one sentence, but work at it. Making your vision statement a single sentence is important. A single sentence forces you to focus your dreams. Remember, you are making a target that all your children’s ministry volunteers are going to aim at. Make it focused.

If your vision statement is to be effective, it needs to be easily recognizable and easily passed on. A single sentence will help you to accomplish this.

When writing the vision statement it is important to do so from the children’s perspective. Ultimately, it won’t be a statement about your children’s ministry, but about the kids in your ministry. An example of a vision statement written this way is, “Kids who passionately love God and live out their faith in words and actions.” Beginning the sentence with “Kids who” helps to keep you focused on writing it from the child’s perspective.

So, on your whiteboard or flipchart write, “Kids who” and look to your brainstorming notes to complete the sentence.

Once you have your vision statement written in a single sentence from the children’s perspective, it’s time to evaluate it.

Evaluate your vision statement by the qualities of a good vision statement.

Inspiring

  • A good vision statement is inspiring for the volunteers in your children’s ministry. Does your vision statement spur your volunteers on? Does it get them excited about what God can do in the lives of your kids?

Memorable

  • A good vision statement is memorable. It is easy to remember because it is a single sentence, focused, and relevant to your kids, your volunteers, and your church.

Rooted in Scripture

  • A good vision statement is rooted in Scripture. God’s Word is our final authority. Any vision for our kids should be based on the truth of God’s Word and express a love for the Word of God. “Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” Proverbs 30:5

In line with the larger vision of your church

  • Children’s ministry is part of the larger ministry of your church. Your vision for your kids needs to be in line with the larger vision of your church. If your church has a vision statement, make sure that you and your team know it and write a vision statement that supports it. It’s okay if it’s not the same, but it needs to be heading in the same direction. For example, this kids ministry vision statement, “Kids who passionately love God and live out their faith in words and actions,” is in line with the vision statement of the church, “For God’s glory we will have maximum impact in our world by seeing lives changed in their depth of love for God and for people.” It’s not the same, but it is aiming for a similar target.

In the next post of this vision-creating series I will talk about the importance of getting the word out about your children’s ministry vision.

 

How do you develop a vision statement for your children’s ministry? Part one – Brainstorm, Part two – Create a single sentence vision statement, Part three – Get the word out.

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