Today I read a blog about how children and youth are being overlooked by child and youth ministries at churches.
What visitors want to see from Children’s Ministry and the Nursery is twofold—security and genuine care. If their kids have fun, that is the cherry on top.
The blog writer goes on to ask:
What do your Children Ministries say about you as a church? How are you ensuring that the standards you have in your pulpit clearly exist in other parts of your church?
This was my reply...
I think there is a much greater question to be asked here. Why do we even have (or require) children and youth ministries?
Historically churches have only had access to these types of ministries for less than 35 years, which means most parents (in 2009) grew up in some form of children's ministry. But what did churches do prior to these ministries? Well, for one thing, parents used to be responsible for the salvation of their children. And for teaching Biblical principles to their children. In many ways child and youth ministry leaders have stolen that responsibility from parents. Now the youth pastor teaches the kids the Word, not Dad or Mom. Not to mention that these ministries have caused churches to become a "dysfunctional family" - parents in one room, kids in another and youth in yet another separate section of the church.
When I was a kid we had a youth night at church every Tuesday. This was prior to youth pastors or children's ministries. In fact, our youth night was when the youth DID the ministry! (Something else the youth leaders have stolen.) And not only did the youth lead worship and preach the word, but the WHOLE CHURCH attended the youth night to support them! What a concept!
But for me (as a nine year old, attending my teenaged brother's youth night) the most beautiful part of the night came at the end of the meeting. That's when the adults attending the youth night would pray for the children and youth. Another fantastic concept that our current children and youth ministries have disabled.
So perhaps the more important church "standard" we should be concerned about is not how our child and youth ministries can genuinely care for our children and youth - but how can their PARENTS do that! And maybe, just maybe, our youth and child leaders should be helping moms and dads be better teachers so that our families can be restored "inside" the church walls.
The church "environment" is dysfunctional! No wonder people don't want their children to grow up in that!