CHC’s Children’s Church leaders share tips on effective children’s ministry at the CGI-Asia Conference 2010 elective.
|PHOTO: Lydia Isnanto
There are five C’s to consider when starting a Children’s Ministry, namely, the call of God, a mindset of change, captivating programs, being creative and finally, putting the children’s interest first. This was what conference delegates learned at the elective “Starting A Children’s Ministry” during the CGI-Asia Conference 2010.
Eileen Toh, CHC Children’s Church pastor, addressed the first C—the call of God. Toh herself received a rhema word from God when she was 16 years old, that she would one day serve God in full-time capacity. In 1995, she started the Children’s Church with 40 children and six volunteers.
Toh shared that perseverance is important when starting a children’s ministry. In the initial years, resources, manpower and budget was limited and hence, she used to pack her own props, pencils, scissors, and cushions from home in a suitcase and bring them to church for the children. This lack made room for creativity to flourish.
A turning point for the Children’s Church came in 1996, when Toh was inspired by the “Church Without Walls” message taught in CHC about spreading the love of God to those beyond the four walls of the church. She heeded the voice of God and started to meet the needs of children in the community. As a result, the number of children attending the church grew by the hundreds.
It was not always smooth-sailing for the Children’s Church. Toh recalled one Saturday, when the buses arrived with only eight children and the teachers and helpers outnumbered the children. Toh and her team chose to conduct classes as per normal knowing that each child was precious in the sight of God and had to be cared for. This incident taught Toh that every soul matters.
Another essential element to the ministry’s success is having a heart for children—just as Jesus had. In the Bible, Jesus raised two children from the dead and healed a demon-possessed boy. He also used children to illustrate His teachings on achieving greatness in the kingdom of God.
As the ministry grew, the weekly visitations to meet the children’s needs increased. The ministry also continually sharpened its creative edge to stay relevant to the children. A singing pop group J7 was formed in 2004, comprising seven dynamic individuals who share a common passion for singing, dancing, as well as a heart for children. J7 has thus far performed in schools and community events, in front of thousands of young audiences.
In addition, the Children’s Church produced their very own praise and worship album, First, in 2006. They also developed and published their own children’s church syllabus, Dream Factory Curriculum 1 and 2 in 2006 and 2010 respectively.
Apart from Toh, Children’s Church leaders Connie Yong and Lynn Tan also shared pertinent points with the class. Yong who has been a teacher for 14 years, elaborated on the second and third C’s. Change is necessary as a process to bring about a breakthrough to make the Children’s Ministry even better. There has to be a mindset as well as manpower change. The ministry must also be captivating for the children. She gave the example of the Children’s Church using social networking tools such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook to stay connected to the children.
Tan, who was newly licensed as a pastor during the final day of the Asia Conference, shared on the fourth and fifth C’s. The fourth is the need to be creative and contemporary to reach even higher goals for God. The ministry should include character-building, intelligence stimulation, speech and drama classes.
Finally, the children’s interest should always come first. Toh concluded the session by sharing that children are the future leaders. As ministry workers and volunteers sow into the children’s lives, they might just be nurturing future spiritual world leaders like Yonggi Cho or Reinhard Bonnke.