Over at Children's Ministry Online, Tony Kummer has posted an article entitled "68 Benefits of Children's Ministry." One section of his article addresses "14 Educational Benefits of Children's Ministry." Kummer's entire article is helpful, and this section is particularly valuable. I have listed it here for your benefit.
14 Educational Benefits of Children's Ministry
- It accommodates the unique educational needs of children. We all know that children learn differently than adults. Targeted teaching for kids helps accommodate these differences.
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Learn about cognitive development and know the limitations of your learners.
- It allows teachers to target multiple intelligences in their teaching. New research in education points to various types of intellect. Typical children’s ministry curriculum already addresses these different learning needs.
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Use a variety of learning activities that appeal to distinct learning styles.
- It allows for age-graded instruction. A tried and true way to promote learning is to teach on different maturity levels. Children’s ministry programs (like Vacation Bible School and Sunday School) have been doing this for years.
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Plan times when children from similar grade levels can learn together.
- It allows children to memorize large portions of scripture. A major focus for most children’s ministry programs is Bible memorization. Concentrated efforts in this area while kids are young can yield lifelong benefits.
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Challenge kids to learn and retain three verse each month. Review these every week all year long. Use games and drills to make it fun, but don’t skip the Bible memorization.
- It provides systematic Bible instruction. Sunday school publishers arrange their lessons according to a defined scope and sequence. This assures that kids get a broad introduction to the Bible and its major teachings.
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Evaluate your ministry programs. Ask yourself, “Will a child who completes this program know all the basics needed to continue their spiritual growth?”
- It allows learning to worship in a group through singing. Kids who learn to worship in groups of other children, using simple worship songs, are better prepared to participate in congregational singing [in an adult gathering].
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Choose worship songs and teach about the difference between singing and worshiping through singing.
- It allows children to learn how to read scripture in public. Having kids read scripture in Sunday school helps them learn to read the Bible aloud.
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Make this a regular component of your ministry time.
- It helps kids learn to pray aloud in public. The same is true for praying in public. This is a much less intimidating process in a small group, such as Sunday school.
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Invite children to lead prayer in Sunday school.
- It provides a context for children to learn how to respect older adults. This habit is also best learned-by-doing. Children’s ministry is an excellent format to teach kids how to interact with and to respect older people.
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Invite an older church member to share a testimony about their many years of serving God. Hold up long-term faithfulness as something that should be greatly respected.
- It increases the total amount of instruction time children will get in the Bible. Promote biblical literacy by teaching the Bible. Even children who read their Bibles at home will benefit from this extra learning time.
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Add a regular Bible reading portion to your ministry time. Even 2 minutes at a time will add up over the years.
- It promotes the use of music as a learning tool. One of the easiest ways to learn is through music. Most children’s ministry curriculum provide music designed for worship as well as teaching.
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Find the best mix of musically quality and content. Don’t just settle for contemporary music. When possible, teach the children songs based closely on scripture passages. Give away CDs with these high quality learning songs.
- It provides a context for children learn share the gospel with their friends. When kids invite other kids to church, they take the first steps to witnessing to their friends. Children’s ministry helps make that happen by encouraging kids to share Jesus.
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Encourage kids to invite friends to church and talk about Jesus in their regular life. Younger kids don’t have the same shyness about witnessing as adults. So, help them spread the message.
- It provides opportunities to re-teach the Gospel in every developmental stage. Often a child’s response (or lack of response) to the Gospel is hidden by their immaturity. The best way to overcome this concern is to continue to reinforce the plan of salvation as they mature.
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Have a plan to re-teach the Gospel in detail (at least four weeks worth of lessons) at least once each year while a child is in your ministry programs. If they don’t understand the way of salvation, then we have failed them.
- It helps maximize spiritual development at every developmental stage. The principle is true for their spiritual development after they are converted.
– Children’s Ministry Tip: Watch out for 9-11 year olds. This is a prime time when kids learn to pray long and deep. Celebrate their maturing spiritual capacities and help them become consistent in daily private worship times.