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Lead With Love: 4 Loving Principles That Will Change Your Ministry

How can children’s ministry leaders lead with love in a world—and a Church—filled with divisions and arguments? Read on to discover four loving principles that will change the way you lead kids and families at your church.

You’ve heard it read at weddings. Perhaps you’ve even memorized its words. First Corinthians 13 is often referred to as The Love Chapter—and with good reason!

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).

Paul wrote these words to the church in Corinth. They were some of the very first Christians, and already, they were having trouble seeing eye-to-eye. The Corinthians were arguing, quarreling, showing off, and were quite a mess! So Paul wrote this church a letter to remind them what was most important—love.

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Turns out, the problems of the church in Corinth may feel familiar to us today, too. One might wonder…what would Paul write to Christians today?

Noticing divisions and hostilities among Christians and churches today, some people have chosen to avoid Christian communities entirely. They look for love elsewhere, and never find true, agape love.

Lead With Love

But friends, it doesn’t have to be this way. We can lead with love! Let’s let our “love for one another prove to the world that we are Jesus’ friends. (See John 13:34-35.) Here’s how!

In their book, Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore: And How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Your Church Irresistible, Thom and Joani Schultz suggest four ways church today can show that “the greatest of these is love.” These four loving principles uncover how to grow faith as a relationship, rather than a set of rules. Here’s how they relate to the most common reasons people avoid church, and what their impact can be on the kids in your Sunday school.

1. Radical Hospitality

  • When we authentically welcome others, we show radical hospitality.
  • We are caringly curious by showing genuine interest.
  • We accept someone no matter their age, looks, dress, or economic status.

2. Fearless Conversation

  • When we seek to understand how another person views the world, we engage in fearless conversation.
  • We take the time to listen before we speak.
  • We tackle touchy subjects that people don’t want to talk about.

3. Genuine Humility

  • We can demonstrate acceptance, love, understanding, curiosity, respect, and genuine humility to people who are different than what we understand. Even if “different” falls into the sin category.
  • We admit our limitations and weaknesses to others.
  • We are open to learning from others with different beliefs.

4. Divine Anticipation

  • When we realize God is actively involved, we show divine anticipation.
  • We accept there are things we just can’t explain.
  • We are focused on God and not the “show” or the program.

Loving Principles in Practice

These four loving principles—radical hospitality, fearless conversation, genuine humility, and divine anticipation—will make your Sunday school irresistible because Jesus is irresistible. They really work! When people in your church and community meet these four Jesus-centered values, God’s Spirit can’t help but gush forth in miraculous ways.

When they say… Imagine Jesus saying… The church practices…

“I feel judged.”

“You’re welcome just as you are.”


“I don’t want to be lectured. You don’t care what I think.”

“Your thoughts are welcome; your doubts are welcome.”


“Church people are a bunch of hypocrites.”

“We’re all in this together.”


“Your God is irrelevant to my life.” “God is here, ready to connect with you in a fresh way.”



This excerpt comes from Sunday School That Works! In this resource, you’ll find expert insights that provide practical solutions for every area of your Sunday school ministry. For even more leader resources, check out these posts!

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