Free Webinar with BEP Team. April 30 - 2pm CST Click here!

Three Biblical Solutions for Obstacles in Kids Ministry

By Richie Cunningham | Posted In Ministry Tools

Sometimes the obstacles that keep us from more effective children’s ministry are so subtle that we may not see them without a pair of eyes from outside our ministry bubble. Through children’s ministry in five countries and countless U.S. cities, I’ve noticed that three common obstacles surface regardless of culture or context. The solution to these three come through the timeless truths of Scripture, fitting for any place. In allowing my “outside eyes” to bring a fresh biblical perspective to your children’s ministry and in adopting these three Scriptural perspectives, you’ll receive the tools to overcome these common obstacles.

1. It’s not about making it easy, but about doing it well.

Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 (NLT)
In a speech in November 1910, Teddy Roosevelt said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty.” As the children’s pastor or teacher, you are a real pastor for the children that God has entrusted to you. Don’t take that responsibility lightly. You expect your pastor to pray, study, and thoughtfully write his or her message before he or she preaches it. The message or lesson you are preparing for your kids is just as important. Put as much study and preparation into it as you hope your pastor does for the adults.
Preparing for a children’s service is more than just a message, though: it includes planning active segments, singing (both action songs and worshipful songs), offering, review, memory verse, and, of course, the message and application. Plan each part intentionally to fit with the main idea you are wanting the children to learn.
2. The Bible is not merely a collection of facts for the children to study and memorize. It is the living Word of God that breathes life into our very souls!
The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.
Psalm 19:7–11 (NLT)
When I teach the Bible, I get excited! I can’t stand still; I get electrified and have to move. Even as I write this, my fingers are starting to twitch with the anticipation of the next time I get to tell a child a story from the Bible.
If you are bored when teaching the Bible story, then you can count on the children being bored too. Not only will that lead to the children misbehaving, but it also teaches them that the Bible is a boring book. They learn to read the Bible only out of obligation, not in anticipation.
Instead, it is our sacred duty to make the stories and lessons of the Bible come alive for them! When kids enjoy the lesson, they will pay attention. Not only will they be “better behaved,” but they will learn to fall in love with the Word of God.
3. If the children are misbehaving, it’s probably your fault.

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?”
Matthew 7:3 (NLT)
Yes, foolishness may be bound in the heart of a child (Proverbs 22:15), but if they are engaged by your teaching, they won’t want to misbehave.
I have read books that argue that children need to be taught to be reverent or that children need to have fun. This is a false dichotomy. Children do need to be reverent. Plan times when you will lead them into hearing and responding to God.
However, God created children with a need to move, laugh, and wiggle. They will be engaged and will remember your lesson better if they are enjoying the experience. There is plenty of time in most services for both fun and reverence. Just be sure to be intentional in your fun. Your songs should reinforce the main point. Games should either be used to teach the point or to review the lesson.
If the children are having fun, they will be engaged and will forget to misbehave. If you don’t engage them, they will get bored. When children are bored, they find things to occupy their minds. Usually what they find to do is considered misbehaving. If you struggle with discipline in your classroom, don’t blame the kids. Engage them. Don’t let your reflex be to figure out how to punish bad behavior so they stop; let your reflex be to have more fun!

Do these Scriptures shape your kids ministry, or you do you have others that serve as the guiding foundation for your kids ministry? Let us know!