4 Ways Churches Can Teach Doctrine to Kids

One of the flaws of many church’s child-focused ministries is the failure to teach doctrine to children. It is somehow thought that doctrine and theology is important, but that kids just aren’t ready for it. Churches instead opt to teach Bible stories, character traits, and moral lessons. Certainly, these are needed, but without being rooted in doctrine and theology it lacks the foundation to lead to lasting change.

Here are several ways churches can teach doctrine to their kids.

1- Help children understand the doctrine in the songs they sing at church.

If your church utilizes doctrinally rich songs, children are already singing truth, but they might not be thinking through what they are singing. Throughout your weekly programs ask them about a certain song. See if they know what it means. If not, take some time to explain it. The next time they sing that song in church they will know the importance of its message.

2- Talk about the doctrinal truths in the stories that they already know.

If kids have spent any time in church at all they are probably familiar with many Bible stories. Each of these stories contain doctrinal truths or themes that are often not taught. Bring these up and discuss them. For instance, Noah and the ark is not just about the animals, the ark, and the flood. It is about God’s character, his hatred of sin, and his promise of deliverance. Teach truths, not just stories.

3- Encourage Parents to use the Jesus Storybook Bible with their children.

The Jesus Storybook Bible is a Children’s Bible written by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The goal of this Bible is to relate all of the stories it presents to the work of Jesus Christ. This helps children understand that all of the Bible fits together to present one main theme that is connected to one main person — Christ.

4- Don’t be afraid of developing or using a catechism. 

While catechisms have received some criticism in Baptist circles throughout the years, they can be a great help. No catechism replaces Scripture, but they can help children learn important truths in an organized fashion. Find a good one, and work through it with your kids.

We must be committed to helping our children learn doctrine. While there are many other ways in which to accomplish this, the above four ideas are a good place to start. Consider how your church can point kids to Christ by teaching doctrine.

What Parents Look for in a Children’s Ministry

The children’s ministry is an essential component of a growing church. A vibrant children’s ministry adds excitement and energy to a church. It can be a source of growth, it can create unique avenues of outreach, and can be a strategic component of discipleship.

With that in mind, here are some of what parents look for in a children’s ministry.

1- Safety & Security

With all of the dangers in today’s world, safety and security is essential. Parents want to know that workers are trained and have had background checks conducted. They want to know that there is no chance of their kid simply wandering off. They want to know that they will be the only one able to pick up their children.

If facilities are not safe and security measures are not in place and aggressively followed, your church can expect to lose young families.

2- Friendly & Engaged Volunteers

If volunteers are not friendly, children will not have an enjoyable experience. If children do not have an enjoyable experience, the parents are less likely to return. The volunteers in a children’s ministry are oftentimes the first impression of the church. What kind of first impression are they making? Workers who are not engaged with the children will not be able to impact the lives of the children.

Unfriendly and unengaged volunteers will drive away young families.

3-  Facilities that are Up-to-Date & Inviting

This is connected to the component of safety, but there is another side to this. Outdated children’s facilities communicate that the church’s ministry to children is not a priority. Who would want to bring their kids to that?

4- Excitement & Energy

If there is an atmosphere of excitement, the kids will be excited to attend and parents will feel more comfortable bringing their kids. This is not about entertainment, but engagement. A boring and lifeless children’s ministry will be a hindrance to the church.

5- Programming that is Strategic & Well-Planned

Thrown together lessons and class activities may not be that noticeable to young children, but it will be to their parents. If parents feel as though little or no thought has gone in to what their kids are being taught, they will not have confidence that it is actually benefiting them. The classes and programs that are being offered should be a strategic avenue of discipleship in the lives of the children. For this to have maximum impact there has to be a strategy in place.

Elementary school teachers develop lesson plans and put work in ahead of time so that there can be maximum impact. Why would parents want to send their kids to something at a church where it is not strategic and well-planned?

These are just some of what parents look for in a church’s children’s ministry. A church who ignores these realities will be a church with very few young families. And a church with very few young families doesn’t really have much of a future.

Issues Don’t Divide Churches, People Do!

1 Corinthians 1:10-17 deals with the issue of conflict in the church and the need for unity. This passage should serve as a warning to always be on guard against division and strife. There are a couple of points in this passage that are worth highlighting.

1- Issues Don’t Divide Churches, People Do.

It is not a certain issue that causes division; it is ego that causes division. It is not a certain topic that causes division; it is our human self-centeredness. The issues simply reveal the pride that is already there.

It is possible to have a church with people of different backgrounds, different preferences, different tastes, and different likes and dislikes AND avoid conflict and division while accomplishing something for Christ.

People cause division in churches by allowing their pride and ego to drive their attitude and actions.

In our church we have all kinds of varying preferences on every issue. We have different personality styles, backgrounds, and likes and dislikes represented, but they do not have to cause division. Why? Because they are not the focus. Which means that something else is the focus, namely the cross of Christ.

2-  Godly Unity Exalts the Cross and Displays Christ.

It is worth stating that a lack of unity does the exact opposite. When the cross is in clear view, petty differences on peripheral issues are not. Let me state it bluntly. When people allow preferences on peripheral issues to cause division in the church they are demonstrating that the cross is not in clear view and that they are not focused on or concerned with displaying Christ for a lost world to see.

When Christians fail to actively pursue and protect the unity of the church, the glory and majesty of the work of Christ is diminished by their selfishness.

A lack of unity lowers the priority of the cross. Disunity and strife in a church lowers the value of the cross, it hides the love that was demonstrated on the cross, and it says that our petty issues deserve to be lifted up and highlighted more than the cross of Christ. At that moment, we and our churches are guilty of idolatry on the grandest scale.

It’s okay to have different preferences and it is okay to discuss them, but they should never stand in the way of the cross being lifted high.

Christians should actively pursue and protect the unity of the church. The joy of the Christian, the effectiveness of the church, and a focus on lifting high the cross are at stake.

Pursue Unity!