Slimed (In the Name of Jesus)

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Follow these steps.
1. Understand kids’ needs, interests, fears, and more. Ask God for
wisdom as you immerse yourself in their world. Read their
magazines, watch their TV shows and movies, listen to their music,
and visit their stores. Read the “Keeping Current” section of this
magazine. The more you know about our kids’ world, the easier it’ll
be for you to use that knowledge in attracting them to Jesus.

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2. Clarify your ministry vision. The kids in your town have
specific needs or styles. Get to know their culture to understand
how to present the gospel to the kids God has entrusted to you. For
example, kids in Midwestern America don’t speak the same language
as those in an Eastern inner city.

3. Create exciting, unusual experiences that attract kids. Once
you know your kids, you’ll know what they consider fun or exciting.
Ask God for creative wisdom in connecting fun activities to the
gospel message.

4. Design clear objectives for each program. You must be able to
see and evaluate the success of your ministry apart from the
numbers of kids who come. How will you know if you’re fulfilling
Jesus’ challenge? Include the following in each objective:
• Kids’ feelings during and after the program
• Kids’ growth in their relationship with God
• Kids’ real-life choices after the program

5. Plan time realistically. When time’s short, you may be
tempted to sacrifice the spiritual element. The thrilling
experiences we design for kids take time. If you don’t plan
carefully, you may find yourself taking too much time for the
“slime,” and not having any time for the gospel. A clear vision, a
clear commitment to the spiritual, and a realistic time plan will
protect you.

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6. Train your team members to build relationships with kids.
Relationships and learning occur with “guided conversation” during
an experience. If you’ve rented a professional rock-climbing wall
in conjunction with your lesson on the importance of the kids’
mental focus on the Lord, have team members reinforce the lesson
goal in their comments to the kids. Instead of the team members
simply holding the ropes or overseeing the kids’ safety, have them
use guided comments such as, “Great concentration, Doug. Don’t get
distracted. Focus. This is just like you have to do at school, too.
Focus on the Lord takes concentration. Good job!” These are simple
techniques, but they’re critical in building a balanced program
today.

All of us want long lines of parents and kids waiting to get in
because they know time in our ministry will be fun. We want parents
trusting us with leading their kids into deeper spiritual
relationships with God. We want to have the reputation of thrilling
kids with new and exciting adventures while challenging them to new
spiritual frontiers. But the ultimate goal of all these things-and
everything we do — is that children enter into a living, thriving
relationship with Jesus Christ.

Isn’t it great that God is right there beside us? Isn’t it great
that God wants to give us the power, creativity, and resources that
we need? This is an awesome time to be in children’s
ministry!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or
imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him
be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all
generations, for ever and ever! Amen!” Ephesians 3:20.

Steve Alley is a Christian education professor at Hope
International University in Fullerton, California.

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