We who serve as pastors often think about ministering to adults, but we don’t spend enough time thinking about how we can minister to the children in our congregation. Pastors, consider these possibilities:
- Learn their names. Calling them “brother” and “sister” when we don’t know their names simply won’t work with children. Respect them enough to call them by name, and you’ll gain some friends.
- Get to eye level when talking with them. If we want them to look up to us, let it be because they respect us—not because they literally have to look up to get our attention. Get down on one knee, and look children in the eye.
- Spend time with them outside the pulpit. Stop by their children’s church or Sunday school classes. Walk the children’s department hallway prior to the service (paying attention to security rules, of course). Hang out with the kids during a churchwide fellowship. Go to the annual children’s camp. These children will listen better to your preaching if they know you personally.
- Pray for them by name. Some children in your church probably have no one consistently praying for them, including their parents. So, you might be the only adult interceding for some children in your church.
- Invite them into your sermons by using illustrations that capture their attention. Intentionally draw them in first with simple statements like, “Kids, I really want you to listen to this story.” To be honest, an illustration that grabs the children will grab the adults as well.
- Hang out at their sporting events. I know that’s a time commitment, but kids and parents alike are excited when their pastor comes to watch a game. Plus, few things are as fun as watching a t-ball game….
- Train their parents well. Too often, our parental training is reactive as we try to help parents who are facing tough issues – rather than proactive as we help train them to love and lead their children. If we’re only responding to concerns, though, we’re not leading well.
Pastors and parents, what would you add to this list?