Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nurture Children as Church Leaders

Three adults were meeting to plan the fall program ministries. It was summer and a third-grader came to the meeting with her mother. In the middle of a planning dilemma, one adult turned to the child and asked, “What do you think?”

Without missing a beat the child answered with a question that led to solving the problem. For the rest of the meeting, the child was included in the conversations, leading to some great plans.

How can children be involved in your congregation in ways that help them develop their own leadership skills? Think about all aspects of your congregation’s life. Where are children currently involved as leaders? Where are their voices and talents needed? The answer should be “everywhere.”

  1. When planning mission projects for children, get their input about what projects to support, when to do these projects and who the projects will target.

  2. Recruit children as liturgists. Give them copies of the liturgy in advance with their part well marked. Practice with each liturgist with the lighting and microphone in place.

  3. Invite children to be on the planning team for church dinners, vacation Bible School, special worship services, fund-raisers or church picnics. Let them help with set up, food preparation and evaluation. Keep in mind that children need to move, to complete a project that is meaningful and helpful and to feel appreciated.

  4. In Sunday school classes, small groups and other gatherings of children, include times for children (in age-appropriate ways) to practice making choices, to think about the needs of others in the church, to be creative problem solvers and to share in leadership roles.

  5. Include children when doing churchwide mailings or requests. Provide pledge cards to children as well as adults. Include children’s prayer requests for the church devotional book, recipes for the church cookbook or special covers for the bulletin.

  6. Invite children to join your quilting group or to make items for the church bazaar, to participate in the church clean-up day or a work project 9in the community, to join the prayer chain or to design the bulletin board.

Think creatively about involving children in the total life of the congregation. They need to be responsible members of the community of faith in order to grow as leaders in the congregation. Children will provide leadership today and in the future.

--Mary Alice Grann, GBOD, Interpreter Classic, Feb/Mar 2003

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey

Web Content Producer

United Methodist Communications

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