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.

7 Keys to Reaching Young Families

Most churches and pastors I know want to reach young families. But how is that done? Here are 7 keys to help your church reach young families.

1- Pursue Quality and Professionalism

The average young family is accustomed to quality everywhere they go. It is a part of their world. They go to doctors who are professional and have a high standard of quality. They take their kids to daycares and schools where quality and professionalism is expected. They do business with companies who are characterized in this way.

It is no wonder that they have come to expect churches to meet this same standard – and they should. Churches who care about reaching young families cannot settle for low quality in facilities or ministries.

2- Engage Them Online

This is nothing new, but churches who ignore their websites, social media, and other online avenues of engagement are missing a wonderful opportunity to connect with young families. This may take some effort and an organized strategy, but it is worth the effort.

3- Prioritize Children’s Ministry

Young families will probably have young children. A church that minimizes the importance of children’s ministries and facilities for children are subtly communicating that they really don’t care about reaching young families. Having a quality nursery and quality nursery workers is essential. If you desire to reach young families, ministries to children must be a priority.

4- Get Involved in the Community

Young families are not interested in simply coming and sitting in a pew each week. They want to be part of a church that goes out into the community and is concerned with making a difference. If a church simply goes through the motions of church, refusing to get involved in the community, they will not be a place young families will want to land.

5- Understand the Challenges They Face, Then Adjust When Possible

Young families face challenges, as do all people in all age groups. In an attempt to reach young families, be considerate of the challenges they face. For instance, if your church wants to see an increased involvement of young families in a particular ministry of the church, it would not be wise to have the ministry start late in the evening. Why? Young families are focused on getting their kids ready for school and in bed at a decent hour.

Adjustment may not always be possible, but when it is, making those adjustments communicates that you care about the challenges young families are facing.

6- Put Them in Positions of Leadership

Young adults have insights that are valuable and helpful. Failing to put them in positions of leadership communicates that you really don’t think they have much to offer.

Perhaps you have offered positions of leadership to them and they have declined. The next point may be why.

7- Focus More on Doing and Less on Meeting

Young adults are not interested in sitting in committee meetings discussing ministry. To them that is an unnecessary waste of time. They are willing to serve, but they are not interested in going through hours of meetings about serving.

Meet less and serve more and you will see the involvement of young families increase.

These are just a few ways that churches can intentionally reach out to young families. Do you agree? What are some other thoughts you have? Please comment below.