10 things every child in our church needs

I have been wrestling with the question of how we help our children and young people become adult members of the church for some time. I am going to be giving the opening address at the Family Ministry conference in a couple of weeks with the title “It Takes a Whole church.”  So I thought I would give some time to reflect on what it is we are trying to see happen in the lives of the children and young people in church life. Strangely we often don’t think about the goals for our youth and children’s ministry and so keep on doing the same old things we have always done or innovating without clearly thinking about the ends we are aiming at.

I came across this list and wondered what you make of it? What is missing? Which area do you think we the church are struggling with most in the UK church?

[styled_box title=”10 goals for the children in our churches” class=””]

1. Trusting in Christ

2. Understanding grace and living in grace

3. Communing with God regularly

4. Demonstrating moral responsibility

5. Accepting responsibility in the congregation

6. Demonstrating unprejudiced and loving lives

7. Accepting authority and being personally responsible

8. Having a hopeful and positive attitude

9. Participating in the rituals of the christian community

10. Engaging in mission and service

Passing on the faith, Strommen & Hardel, St Mary’s Press, p.18

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I guess it depends how you frame the goals. Because we could put it in terms of skills or competencies; here’s my list in response. It’s not perfect and I am happy for your input to help improve it.

[styled_box title=”Alternative 10 competencies” class=”sb_red”]1. Ability to understand, interpret and apply the scripture to everyday life.
2. Ability to articulate what they believe and why.
3. A virtuous life – i.e. patterns of behaviour that help to make godliness second nature.
4. An appreciation and a role in the life of the church.
5. A habbit and commitment to daily missional decision making.
6. An understanding of what is essential and what is negotiable in Christian doctrine.
7. The ability to articulate a clear sense of vocational calling for the whole of life.
8. A heart trained to love God and his ways.
9. The ability to integrate their academic life and christian life.
10. The ability to make friends within the body of Christ.
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ittakesawhole

7 thoughts on “10 things every child in our church needs”

  1. I find Kenda Creasy Dean’s thoughts helpful on what is required for consequential faith:

    A God worthy of belief (not one that you grow out of)
    A community to belong to (with people of all ages)
    A role to play
    A hope to hold on to

  2. Strommen & Hardel, although I love most of what they have to say, I think tend to view children as ‘little adults’. Their goals would easily apply to any adult who is new to faith. Your list is a little more directed, but what is it that sets the younger generations apart in terms of what needs to be achieved? Is there anything different?
    I list the goals for our Kids work as developing Knowledge (about God and us), Skills (Bible reading, prayer, discussion telling others etc.), Attitude (A heart for God and others) and Opportunity (A place to be part of church, community and mission).

  3. Becky Fisher of Kids In Ministry International may have some good insight to help you with this.

  4. Ok, so I know that this is a particular slant that the list is written from, and it’s been taken out of its context, so I don’t know what else the authors say about young people in church… But:
    I think that competencies are often consequences of our relationships with young people, rather than goals per se. I was having a great chat with a lad yesterday just about life and God and prayer and *stuff*. And I think that’s part of our role as adults – just to be Christian adults and to treat kids like they’re genuinely a part of our community. They’re a bit of the family, and the church family would be much more dull (in my experience) without them :)
    I think they need to grow up knowing they’re a part of an amazing community, however messed up it may get some times. And they need to know they’re a loved part, whatever stupid mistakes they make. Perhaps that sounds wishy-washy/airy-fairy, or whatever. But actually, when the rubber hits the proverbial road, it’s anything but wishy-washy. It’s dedicated, rugged, robust relationships.
    [And at this point, I re-read your post, and discover that half of it didn’t get into the automatic email I received as a follower, so the above is a response only to the Strommen and Hardel bit!]
    So in response to yours…
    Number 10, I’d question the ‘within the body of Christ’ bit. Simply because I know that one of the things that I’m alright with is making friends within the body of Christ. But I grew up much more able to do this than to make friends outside of the body of Christ. And I think the church needs to teach friendship as a whole, not just friendship with other Christians. Because we then are in danger of creating an ‘us and them’ feeling, with the assumption that we have to be different people in different relationships.
    Anyway, I’m probably starting to ramble… And I’ve got a pile of things to do this morning, but thanks for the post that’s jumpstarted my brain. I’ll keep pondering it and come back to it if I’ve more to add. (‘Yay’, I hear you say…)

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