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Repost: Children’s Ministry in a Missional Paradigm: Values

(photo originally uploaded to Flickr by sean drellinger)

I am reposting this as part of a multi-blog conversation surrounding a missional approach to children’s ministry. A little while back, Glen Woods wondered if anyone was interested in conversing via blogging about a missional approach to children’s ministry. Since this is something that I have been researching, thinking, and blogging about for a while, I agreed to be a part of the conversation. In addition to Glen Woods, there are two others participating in this: Anthony Prince and Shauna Morgan. I encourage you to check out and interact with the posts on these blogs as well. I will be attempting to interact on them as well.

For this first post, Glen asked each of us to give a brief overview of our philosophy of a missional approach to children’s ministry. I chose to repost this from a series I had run a little while back. This post focuses on some values that I think are consistent with a missional approach to children’s ministry. How these values get implemented will look different from context to context (which is a key characteristic of missional values).

Just as a sidenote… Glen had asked us to give examples of how our philosophy expresses itself in our ministries. It’s difficult for me to do that because everything we do is run through the filter of the values stated below. We don’t necessarily have programs that are more “missional” than others.

Here is the original post:

As I continue to explore children’s ministry in a missional paradigm, I wanted to throw out one more thing before fleshing out some of the ideas I’ve put out in this series.

As I’ve read and talked with and seen different incarnations of what emerging missional ministry might look like in a local church context, I’ve discovered some common values that would be important in children’s ministry. Now these values do show up all over the place whether “missional” or not. But I think these four values are key to a missional praxis of children’s ministry, which I will finally be fleshing out in future posts in this series.

The values are:

  • Discovery Help children to discover who God is and how to best follow Jesus.
  • Experience Help children to experience God’s love for them by connecting them to a dynamic relation with him.
  • Action-Oriented Help children to live out what it means to love your neighbor as yourself missionally by providing a variety of ways they can change their community, country and world now. This includes reaching out in issues of justice and poverty locally and globally (I hate using the word glocal :) )
  • Community Help children to find where and how they connect into their community of faith and the greater Church community.

Again, these aren’t values exclusive to a missional paradigm but ones I think are important to a third culture way of approaching children’s ministry.

What are your thoughts on these values as related to a missional paradigm of children’s ministry?

What would you subsititue, change or add to the list?

How would you “flesh out” these values to reflect a missional mindset?

3 Responses to “Repost: Children’s Ministry in a Missional Paradigm: Values”

  1. Shauna Morgan April 28, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    I love your simple approach. Discovery is so important for the age we work with at EP (college/young adults) I think most have never pursued a relationship with God as a child because they felt as though they were beaten over the head with a bible as a child. Kinda like the hot stove analogy, if they got burned…why try again? If we can train children from a very young age to view God as approachable…wow. Experience, that is what brings them back to his arms over and over again:) Action-oriented, lovin' it! Our children 7 and 10 have been apart of our Compassion Projects from the beginning. When they see their own little faith in action, it grows and grows with each new experience. Community is so foundational in our growth…to know and be know.

    Simple and Sweet.

    • henryjz May 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

      Thanks Shauna… I'm really trying to simplify my thoughts about missional children's ministry as much as I can. The goal is for people to see it and say, "That's it? That's all there is to it?" Then the details get filled in as conversation and relationship continues.


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