by Charol McDonald
Why Children’s Ministry? Because of Discipleship!
Children’s ministry isn’t just Sunday School, Children’s Church, Character Building, Junior Soldiers, or even Singing Company/Children’s Choir. It is all-encompassing. Every ministry of the corps should have a foundation of discipleship. What is discipleship, you ask? Discipleship.org says, “Disciple – someone who is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus and is committed to the mission of Jesus (Matt. 4:19). Disciple-making – entering relationships to help people trust and follow Jesus (Matt. 28:18–20), which includes the whole process from conversion through maturation and multiplication. Disciple maker – a disciple of Jesus who enters relationships with people to help them trust and follow Jesus. Discipleship – the state of being a disciple. Disciple – someone who is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and is committed to the mission of Jesus (Matt. 4:19).”
Everything we do at the corps should be done with discipleship in mind. The songs sung in Sunday School and Singing Company and the lessons taught in Sunday School, Junior Church, and Character Building should model discipleship. When I begin to teach a song in Singing Company, I try to focus on the scripture verse that it may be about
and how the meaning of that song could/should affect the way that we live. I always say, “There’s a song for everything.” In just about every situation, I can think of a song about God’s love and how He will get me through that situation. People often learn songs quickly, so teaching scripture and ways to live through music is one of the easiest ways to help children learn!
At the Royal Oak corps, we currently use the Orange 252 curriculum during Sunday School and our ROC (Royal Oak Citadel) Kidz Church weekly. Each lesson is based on a Bible story or scripture verse; how we can “make a wise choice,” “trust God no matter what,” and “treat others the way that I want to be treated.” These are all basic discipleship concepts! Kids don’t realize they are being discipled, but they are! Through all we do during our children’s ministries, we hope that each child can enter a relationship with Jesus. Once they have that relationship with Jesus, we want our children to feel confident to share with their friends about the amazing love of Jesus Christ.
Building relationships with children is the first step, so offering a variety of programs to get them into the building is a must. Discipleship will happen once you get them into the building and develop the relationship. Often one doesn’t even really know they are doing it, and that is the best part! If we have a love for Jesus Christ and a love for others, discipleship will happen! Children’s ministry is one of the easiest ways to start that discipleship!
Charol McDonald is the Director of Children's Ministries for the Eastern Michigan Division and leads the Singing Company at the Royal Oak Citadel corps. For more helpful insight from Charol, see the video below: