Evangelism and Children

Discussion in 'Youth Forum' started by sunniemom, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. sunniemom

    sunniemom
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    What do you believe is the most Biblical approach to evangelizing children? To be specific, if your church has a bus ministry, how does it function, and how well?

    How do you go about reaching the whole family and not just the kids?

    Do you keep the bus kids and church kids separated (as in having their service at a later time on Sunday, or a Saturday service)?

    What are your safety and security protocols?

    Do you bring bus kids to youth activities?

    Fishing for information and some good resources here. Fire away with all your thoughts on this, please.
     
  2. glfredrick

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    I am all for evangelizing children as long as the true and complete gospel is taught in the process. Easy-believism (just say the name of Jesus and you are good with God...) has no place, even with our youth and children.

    I see, statistically, that 80+ percent of all those who come to know Christ as Lord and Savior do so before they turn 18.

    I am not as enthused about a bus ministry. It is a problem that will never go away.

    How to reach the parents of the kiddos? VERY INTENTIONAL outreach to the parents as well as the children. They must be included in activities, etc., and the church must be seen as something other than a glorified day care agency.

    On that note, I also advocate reaching the FATHER and not just the mother. The moms are often "easy pickings" in an evangelistic sense. Just make a few promises and they are often needy enough to show up to see if they promises are true. Reach the leader of the family (which often has to be taught -- many men don't even realize that they are the leaders!) and you reach the entire family (to a point -- this is not a religious exercise where mere words save!).
     
    #2 glfredrick, Feb 8, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2011
  3. SaggyWoman

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    What do you believe is the most Biblical approach to evangelizing children?

    Well, if you asked me, I would think the Bible speaks to the family. Evangelize the family---the parents--and then you probably got the kids. Many parents will come because of their children.

    To be specific, if your church has a bus ministry, how does it function, and how well?

    I haven't been in a church in a good while that has had an active bus ministry. My parents took us to church when we were little, but as we got older, we ended up riding the bus and they quit going....not sure what that was about...I don't knock the bus ministry because it has good intentions, but not sure if it would not be better served if you ran to pick up kids for a Saturday function geared to the bus kids. Then if they want to return on Sunday, let them return with their families.

    How do you go about reaching the whole family and not just the kids?

    Gear activities to the whole family.

    Do you keep the bus kids and church kids separated (as in having their service at a later time on Sunday, or a Saturday service)?

    The churches I had been involved in that had bus ministries (back in the 70's and early 80's) would have children's church but at times, include a Sunday a month for corporate worship. To be honest, when I was a bus child, i went to children's church until I grew out of it as an 8th grader, then went to big church, much to the dismay of the workers because they appreciated my help.

    What are your safety and security protocols?

    There are now check in procedures.

    Do you bring bus kids to youth activities?

    Any more, parents (or others interested) carry children/youth to activities.

    Fishing for information and some good resources here. Fire away with all your thoughts on this, please.
     
  4. SaggyWoman

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    I heard some statistics the other day. If the father attends church on a regular basis, chances of a child attending church regularly is 75 percent greater than if just the mother attends on a regular basis.
     
  5. annsni

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    OY!! The questions!! LOL

    To give children the gospel. :)

    We do not.

    By ministering to the whole family. We have parents and children in church all through the beginning of the service (all worship) and then the children leave just before the sermon. They then go for their own age-appropriate message and we have ours. In our bulletin, the children's program information is in there and questions and discussion for the parents and children to have during the week to be able to talk about what the kids learned.

    As I said, we don't have a bus ministry - all children are in one room and separated according to age group.

    All children are signed in and given a numbered bracelet that is put on by the children's staff. In order to take your child, you must show your bracelet and then the child will be released to you.

    N/A because of no bus kids - and no youth activities! LOL
     
  6. Salty

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    Just a quick note: Here in NY State in order to transport any child age 4-7 MUST be in a booster seat (unless over 4'9 or 100 lbs). So if you plan on picking up kids - you need to obtain a "federally approved seat" If you are stopped by the police - and the law is a primary law - you will be given 3 points on your license per child.

    Gone are the days you can pack 10 kids into a sedan.

    Maybe this would be a good reason to get back to the bus ministry (unless you own a taxi - we are exempt from the law)

    Also, if you do regularly pick up kids, you might want to check with your insurance company.

    If your State or Commonwealth does not currently have these laws they most probally will in the near future.

    As I said, just some thoughts.
     
  7. idonthavetimeforthis

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    I know someone who was picked up as a little child by a church that ran buses because her parents were unsaved & did not go to church. As this person brought home her Sunday School papers every week & the parents began to read them, the Lord began His work in their hearts & they were gloriously born again. They have been running a bus route for 20 something years now, picking up kids whose parents could care less about church & the Lord.

    The point - don't knock it until... The bus ministry may not be perfect & may not be for every church, but praise God for those churches who feel like that is what they need to do to reach their community with the Gospel.
     
  8. sunniemom

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    Thanks

    Thank you for all of your replies.

    One of the things I've become aware of is church vans that pick up young kids but don't have booster seats. Last year our state passed a booster seat law, and any child less than 8 years old or under 4'9" must be in a booster seat.

    I agree that evangelism needs to be directed at the whole family. I think because just picking up kids is easy(parents are grateful for some free child care), sometimes reaching the whole family is neglected.

    Since church staff are considered mandatory reporters (for child abuse) how do you think bus workers should handle finding out that parents are using drugs or leaving young kids unsupervised? Is there a process, IOW, that your staff follows for addressing those kinds of issues?
     
  9. David Lamb

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    Matters such as booster seat laws will vary, not only from state to state, as you mention, but also from one country to another. Here, if a child is either under 12 years old or under 135cm (just over 4 feet 5 inches) in height, he or she must be in a child car seat ("booster seat" as you call it).

    Another thing on which legislation will differ from country to country is that of "safeguarding" as the current term is here for child protection. Anyone coming into regular contact with children (so that would include the driver of a minibus as well as adults leading the children's evangelism) must be "CRB checked", that is checked by the Criminal Records Bureau.

    My church does not own a building. We hire a local school hall for our services and other meetings. This is great for our children's outreach. We run it as an after-school club, and the children just come into the hall after their last lesson.
     
  10. glfredrick

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    At the end of the day, dealing with a host of kiddos that the church seeks out and picks up is akin to dealing with babies wearing dirty diapers. It will be messy,stinky work that may not be for everyone. It takes special care, it takes called-out people, and it will take some money (that will likely not return in any tangible way) to accomplish any ministry like this.

    That's why so many have abandoned this sort of work (not that I'm advocating abandoning ministry to lost children and their families!). Just go in realizing that it is a very inclusive ministry that will eat resources, time, and people.

    We did it in our small church in Wisconsin, and we saw a great outpouring of children. We also saw virtually 100% of our congregation involved in our children's program (hosted Wednesday evenings) where the turnout was often over 100 kiddos. We did not pick them up. Just too many problems for a church running under 50 people to handle that, but the parents brought them (like VBS) and, of course we ministered to them as well.
     
  11. webdog

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    The best way to reach the children is to reach the fathers. How they go, so goes the rest of the family (in the majority of studies relating to Christianity)
     
  12. annsni

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    Unless the home is run by the mother. We know a number of "men" who won't go to church and won't bring their children up in the Lord because their wives disagree. It's quite sad.
     
  13. idonthavetimeforthis

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    I agree about the importance of reaching the fathers, but if you are dealing with a situation in which their is no dad at home does that mean you don't reach the rest of the family? Ok, so reach mom - well, what if mom is no good (she's at home, but could care less about life), then do we neglect the kids? If the answer is no, then go after the kids, reach them with the Gospel, & send them back to their homes as lights in a dark place.

    By the way, I was told one time that the youth ministry was from the pit of Hell because it separated kids from parents. The thought was that it usurped the authority of the parent. So gradually, these kids were pulled out of Sunday School, teen visitation, & activities...& before long they were meeting in their home having their own home church - them 4 & no more (though I believe it was 5 in their family).
     
  14. webdog

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    I was stating the best case scenario when the father is present. Of course there are always different family situations, and we should try to reach all children (and everyone for that matter), but many times I see children's ministries target children in families that have a mother and father, and completely bypass the father. God intended the father to be the leader in the home and we step on God's toes by doing that. Where the head goes the body follows.
     
  15. sunniemom

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    Many kids today, for all intents and purposes, are orphaned. They are definitely fatherless, and if the mom works or has substance abuse problems, they are not being parented.

    The conflict is in caring for these children while also ministering to the 'church kids'. If the pastor only ministered and preached to the lost and spiritually immature, the meat-eating believers are going to go where they can find some steak. We shouldn't short-change our churched kids either- they need to be challenged with some meaty teaching on their level.

    I don't want to get off track onto the idea of having youth-focused ministries, but sometimes they do serve to separate children from their parents, to further promote peer dependency, and to engender a loyalty for the youth pastor that supersedes that authority of the parents. Ministries that focus on youth should always serve to strengthen the home, and if they don't, they are not operating on Biblical principles and might as well be from the pits of Hell for all the good they do.

    It is, in my experience, rare for a bus ministry to be able to absorb and involve the parents. Perhaps this has something to do with what lured them in in the first place? Were they enticed with free stuff- food, money, entertainment? If that's how we got them in the door, how do we expect to keep them with the preaching and teaching of the Word?

    Thinking out loud...
     
  16. idonthavetimeforthis

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    I agree, the youth ministry should be Jesus-focused & not youth focused & any good Jesus-focused youth ministry will strengthen the family (now & in the future when they are the parents).

    As far as being rare for a bus ministry to involve the parents, it may be because the parents don't want to be involved. Sure, some parents like their kids to go because to them it's like free babysitting. But the way I see it is that at least the kid is in church, hearing the Gospel, & learning the Bible. I never minded giving a kid a piece of candy either, or a cup of cold water for that matter. Is that why some came? Maybe...but at least they were there.
    Why do adults come to your church? Hopefully, it is because they love Jesus & want to know more about Him & want to worship Him. But, truthfully, many come because they like the music or they like the preacher's preaching style or they like the people or this or that. Whatever the case, I'm just glad they are there. Rather they be in church than not in church.

    Now, I do think that it could be a temptation for some churches to have bus ministries just so they can have the "numbers" & "bragging rights." Of course, that is not a good reason to have it. I have been a part of a church that always had a "special" day around Easter time & it was made known to me by the pastor that we HAD to have so many kids on the buses so that we would reach our numerical goal. Didn't really care for that, though I tried to do my best in getting kids to come so that we would reach our goal.

    It's all about focus - for the "youth" ministry & the "adult" ministry. Let's stay Jesus-focused & all will come together & there will be no conflict (except with the devil, of course).
     
  17. SaggyWoman

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    As a mandatory reporter, each person who volunteers has the right and the obligation to make a phone call to DSS to report. Most counties have hotlines for reporting (anonymously, although you can and sometimes must give your name.) Make the phone number available.
     
  18. 238480

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    I know this is an old thread, but I thought I'd give my input. My church doesn't have a bus ministry, although I don't think we are opposed to such an idea. However, since I am a school teacher (mostly 4th-8th grade), I have a great relationship with many kids in my community. Because of my position as the only bilingual teacher in my school, I actually get paid extra to make regular "home visits" to our Hispanic families to see if there is anything I (as a representative of the schools) can do to help them or their families. That fosters great relationships between me and many of our Hispanic families.

    Anyway, our youth outreach ministry involves once-monthly youth activities on Saturdays that involve about 2 hours of games, a hot-dog dinner, and an hour of Bible songs and a gospel lesson. The kids absolutely love it, and this past Saturday, our first for the year (we stopped doing it over the winter months), I had 30 of my students come out! 30 kids whom I can't tell about Jesus during school (unless they ask me!) now get to hear the gospel from me because they're at church.

    Anyway, I had to buy a 15 passenger van to help get all those kids to church. My parents helped out with their 15 passenger van and brought along 6 of their former foster kids as well. Last year, we had about 6 parents come out with their kids, and this year we had two parents that came just in time for Bible time, but our primary goal through this outreach is not the parents. Yes, we'd love to get the parents to church, but the fact of the matter is, too many parents "don't have time" for God, but their kids do. I now have seven of those 30 kids who come to church on Wednesday for our Patch the Pirate ministry. Two or three others spend all day with me on Sunday. One of those 30 got saved at the end of last year. Not a simple 1-2-3 repeat after me, but a constant pestering me with questions that we'd look to the Bible for answers. Now, he's asking about baptism, and pretty soon I'll go with him to tell his parents about baptism and their son's salvation testimony. Yes, we want to reach the parents, but that might take them trusting us and seeing the difference that God has made in the life of their son.

    I believe our primary goal should be to reach the parents (especially the fathers), but sometimes the only open door to the parents is through the children. Also, if we are going to "bus" kids to church, it needs to be kids that someone in the church has a personal relationship with - kids that someone in the church is going to follow up with and actually take the time to talk to the parents. Church isn't about babysitting or entertaining, but Christ did tell us to "compel them to come in".

    Just my thoughts.
     
  19. MamaCW

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    The bus ministry in my opinion is an awesome ministry.. there are many members of our church that are working in the ministry that first came to our church because their children started coming on the bus.. as for the personal relationship, yes every bus ministry worker should get to know the children coming on the bus each week..as for as the parents are concerned, wouldnt that be how the children get on the bus in the first place? At least at my church, there's soulwinning, and usually by way of soulwinning, are they meeting parents who have children that the parents give permission to be picked up.. and I know the workers will periodically visit the homes of the children that ride the bus but who's parents do not attend.. I truly believe the goal is not only getting the children to church so that they can learn about Christ and be saved, but also to get the whole household there..but you are right.. just by that 1 child that is getting picked up, a whole family could eventually be saved..just like the jailer in the bible :) (even though he wasnt a kid but because of him his whole household was saved)...I know my hubby and i have been trying to get my parents to come to church week after week..then we started picking up my little sister to bring her to church with us each week (3 months ago).. and for the last 5 weeks, my parents have been in morning service ...
     
  20. 238480

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    For some reason, when I made my post a few months ago, I missed this thread of discussion. Anyway, you are right about being mandatory reporters, but sometimes we wonder what is considered "mandatory". As a preacher, teacher, and migrant recruiter (which is a school related job that requires the community's complete confidence), I frequently have a hard time determining what is mandatory. For instance, I obviously report when children ages 6, 3, and 1 were left home alone, but do I report when children ages 13, 11, 6, and 1 are left home alone? How about, and I just had a mother ask me if this was OK, if the children are ages 12, 10, and 6? Do I consider the maturity level of the children (some 12 year olds I could leave at home alone, and others I wouldn't)? What repercussions will my report have on my ability to do my job (as a preacher, teacher, or recruiter?)? Are the children really in danger?

    Those are many questions that I don't always have the answer to. If the law is clearly being broken like drugs or physical abuse - report it. But if I'm not sure, I usually take a cop-out and ask someone else to see what I saw so they can report it and not me. Someone like a different Sunday School teacher or another teacher at school.
     

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