by Noah Pennington.
When you hear the phrase “children’s ministry,” what picture comes to mind? Do you see a gaggle of kids at VBS having a water balloon fight? Do you hear the familiar tunes of “Jesus Loves Me” and “This Little Light of Mine” being sung at church camp? If you’re young enough, you might even remember the feeling and smell of a big rubber dodgeball slamming into your face during break time at Sunday school. For me, I remember coloring cartoon Jesus while sitting under a chaotic waterfall of goldfish crackers. If you grew up in the American church or are raising children here, you probably have some memories like these.
For the most part, these are good memories, but what happens when these are our only childhood memories of church? Are we missing something in how we engage children with the gospel?
During his ministry, Jesus’ own disciples rebuked people as they brought their children to him. Here’s how he responded: “But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven’” (Matt. 19:14, ESV). Throughout the Bible, we see examples like this of God’s love for children and how significant they are to Him. If children are so important to God, we have to ask ourselves—are we pointing our children towards the greatness of Christ? Or are we hindering them from fully experiencing him?
God loves to use the small and the seemingly insignificant to do mighty works and reveal his glory. When children truly engage with Christ and are filled with the Holy Spirit, they become empowered to go beyond what our culture says are their limits. They become what we call “Kingdom Entrepreneurs.”
At Hope For Orphans, we believe that children are capable of serving orphans in real and meaningful ways. That is why we have launched Project Lionheart—to engage children in the reality of the gospel and teach them how they can love and serve orphans and at-risk children.