Create an irresistible ministry with these 6
powerful kid magnets…
You’ve heard this story before. Now imagine it: Almost 2,000
years ago, a 7-year-old boy runs to the beach and plops down in the
sand, the very first person to arrive. A wave rolls ashore; a sea
gull cackles. He pulls a warm roll from his lunch, unaware that his
small meal is about to become a central aspect of this gathering.
Soon the great Storyteller will be here, right in front of him. He
can hardly wait. He munches on his roll as one by one, others-also
anticipating the Storyteller’s arrival–make their way through the
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Now contrast that image with this: At 6:15 a.m. this Sunday,
Harv Bunkley pulls up at his church, parks, and limps across the
parking lot, jingling his keys. He whistles good-naturedly as he
unlocks the glass doors to the children’s wing. He swings the doors
wide for fresh air, kicks the stops down, and walks in.
The children’s center is ready–chairs in rows; music playing;
craft supplies on tables, just waiting to become a child’s
masterpiece. The air smells like cookies. In minutes, kids will run
through the wide open, anticipating doors.
Your church doors are wide open too. When kids arrive, are they
irresistibly drawn in, as if by an invisible “kid magnet”? Will
they run in with the same can’t wait to get there attitude of that
young boy so long ago? How do you turn on kid magnets in ministry
and pull in today’s kids?
After years of interacting with kids, I’ve discovered powerful kid
magnets–specific things that captivate children and bring them
running on Sunday morning. These are things kids can’t live
without. So let’s magnetize your ministry!
magnet #1: Fun and Friends
Terrence wants “video game” experiences–exciting games, action,
laughter, challenges, and fun. Sarah wants “text message”
experiences–in-depth conversations with 30 other girls all talking
at the same time, heart-moving interactions, and opportunities to
discover common interests. So generally speaking, boys want fun and
games, and girls want friendship and personal connections. Your job
is to make sure kids get both, mixed together. Terrence will have
fun–tons of fun–with interactive activities, irresistible games,
and relevancy that challenges him. And Sarah will meet a friend–or
five–on her very first Sunday because you’ve fostered a welcoming
atmosphere where your kids are ambassadors and relationships rule.
The reality, though, is that all kids need fun and friends–and
that’s what they hope to discover in your ministry.
Ministry Magnet 1: Give kids exactly
what they want–games and friends. Supercharge that magnet by
carefully selecting games that teach and help build relationships
and activities that engage kids while challenging them. Use
relationship as your filter–everything you ask kids to invest
their energy in should help them grow in their relationships with
others and with Jesus.
magnet #2: Miracles
Miracles…how we long to see miracles! God’s power to heal our
loved ones, reverse tragedies, quickly right wrongs–but far too
rarely do we recognize the true miracles in life. What about
everyday miracles–God’s active work in our lives, his voice in the
Word, his power to transform attitudes and relationships? What
about grace? forgiveness? Wow! Those are grand miracles we can
share with kids every time we see them. We can showcase God’s power
when we let kids talk about answered prayers and personal
victories. Children are honest, and their honest stories of our
personal, miraculous God at work are miracles other kids can grab
hold of with both hands.
I hear about miracles from kids every Saturday on my radio show,
The Coconut Hut Radio Show. “I prayed, and God made my mama feel
better.” “I was really scared, then Jesus helped me.” “My mommy and
daddy stopped arguing.” These are all real kids’ stories from real
life about God, who does real, everyday miracles.
Ministry Magnet 2: Showcase God’s
miracles, from the grand to the everyday. Spend time during each
lesson talking about your personal experiences, but don’t dominate.
Invite kids to talk about how God’s worked in their lives. Welcome
their stories and listen carefully. Then celebrate God’s amazing
power in our everyday lives. Let kids’ miracles help other kids
open doors to their own miraculous walk with Jesus.
magnet #3: Parables
Everywhere Jesus went, he took his bag of parables. Just imagine
it–flowers in royal robes, a man with a log in his eye, a lost
sheep found by the faithful shepherd. In fact, the entire Bible is
a people book–a record book of heroes, villains, action, drama,
and mystery. The Bible teaches truth, powerfully and permanently.
Bring the Bible to life for your kids. Wake the boy Samuel to hear
the voice in the darkness–darken your room and have kids take
turns playing Samuel as you call to him. March out Goliath with
thundering steps–let kids tromp around the room just like a giant
would. Do these things–don’t just talk about them. Help kids see
God’s Word and ways in action.
Tell the sidewalk parables, too–the simple, everyday stories from
the chapters of a child’s life walking in faith. Tell your personal
stories, your unusual experiences, and the lessons they’ve taught
Ministry Magnet 3: Stories capture kids’
hearts. We’re fishing for souls–while they’re easy to catch, while
they’re small. So set your bait, and make it delicious. Then reel