Today I’m writing a blog—about a book. This year I had the honor and the privilege of writing about something I truly believe in—Kids Ministry that Nourishes. If you think about the word “nourish,” you may think of hydration, nutrition, and just overall health of the body. However, for the purpose of this particular book (which is not about snacks for kids), think of the word nourish as a way to cherish, foster, strengthen, and build-up. After all, that is what we do in children’s ministry.
A healthy kids ministry that nourishes really boils down to three essential nutrients. Just like healthy foods contain nutrients that the body cannot make alone, so do the non-negotiables of ministry. There are things you must have in place in order to foster young souls your church. I pray that you can use these Essentials as a way to frame up what healthy ministry should look like as well as a way to energize your volunteers and families to champion these along with you.
The first essential nutrient is Kingdom Expanding. This is a foundational mindset for basing your ministry upon—that you, your volunteers, and church body are bought-in to a philosophy that centers around children being adopted into the kingdom of God. This should overpower any urge to base your ministry on your own ability to put on great programs or grow attendance by X %. While tracking attendance and great programming are both good things, they should not be what motivates us at the end of the day. Growing God’s family—expanding His Kingdom—should be our continual mindset and goal.
The second essential is Heart Transforming. As Kids Ministry leaders, we must focus on heart transformation as opposed to behavior modification. This sounds easy in theory, but sometimes it is tempting to tweak behavior with sets of rules and point to posters of morals and values rather than letting the gospel truly change the heart of a child. In order for the Holy Spirit to do His work in the lives of the kids we have in our ministry, they must be exposed to His Word—often. Heart Transformation happens when kids understand that God rules, we sinned, and He provides the ultimate gift of Jesus.
The third essential is Culture Shaping. The Great Commission was Christ’s last words to His disciples—and to us. Once a child has a transformed heart, then the Great Commission is for them too! They don’t have to wait until they can go on the high school mission trip. They can start to impact the culture they live in now. They can shape the culture by sharing the gospel as opposed to being shaped by this dark culture they are inheriting.
These three essential nutrients are essential to a “Healthy Kids Ministry that Nourishes.” I pray that you can take some of this language and use it to cast vision for your own volunteer teams and families you have the privilege of serving each week. The book is designed with discussion questions at the end of each chapter for thoughtful conversations that can lead to a shared ministry philosophy.
To learn more about the Three Essentials of Kids Ministry, order Kids Ministry that Nourishes by Jana Magruder at Lifeway.com or Amazon.com.
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of Lifeway Kids. She is a Baylor graduate and offers a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and publishing. She is the author of Kids Ministry that Nourishes and Life Verse Creative Journal, which she co-authored with her teenage daughter. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children reside in Nashville.