Children’s Pastors Conference Reflection
Presenter: Karl Bastian
Attended by: Rev. Alicea L. Williams
Karl Bastian, The Kidologist, founder of kidology.org and host of KidminTalk.com presented a workshop titled Engaging Families in Children’s Ministry. He gave some very good ideas on how to do this from his many years of being a children’s minister. The biblical basis for his discussion comes from 1 Peter 5:2, in this verse Peter directs the elders, “to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it…”
Children’s ministry is a partnership between the church and parents meaning that both have a role to play in the faith development of the children. Our role is mainly in the church building but it is also our responsibility to provide resources for the parents to use at home to help facilitate and continue faith building. Parents also have a role to play within the walls of the church and it is part of our responsibility to invite them to participate in children’s ministry.
Karl states, “Every parent at one time or another feels like they are a failure – they know they could do better.” By developing faith resources for them to use at home, we give them the opportunity to do better. How we craft our message of invitation will also encourage parents in their participation. For example, inviting parents to “come with” their children rather than “dropping off” their children is more encouraging.
Karl offered an acronym C.A.R.E. to help remember how to care for parents and families. C – Challenge them by informing, inspiring, and instructing. Also, never fail to communicate, communicate, communicate. A – Activities. Plan activities that provide family time and family fun. Examples include Family VBS, Church Escape Room, an Egg-stravaganza Easter event. R – Resource them. By giving parents the tools they need to succeed, they will be more willing to participate in Godly conversations with their children as well as be more comfortable in leading children’s activities. Remember that not all parents are gifted to be leaders/teachers and it is important to create roles for all levels of parent participation. E – Encourage them. As Children’s Ministers, we should not only be loving and encouraging to the children in our ministry but we also need to be the wind in parent’s sails.
Karl’s website kidology.org has a lot of resources and ideas for children’s ministry and I encourage the reader to explore it, however, please keep in mind due to sizes of congregations and in keeping with Wesleyan theology, you may need to do some tweaking in order to use the resource in your context. My take away from the workshop was being reminded that a successful children’s ministry engages families, challenges them to grow in faith, and partners with them to share God’s love with all the children in your church.