Our Children’s ministry is Old

Your Question:

“How can I update the CM without damaging the CM’s history and heritage?”

The Issues:

Being “old” is good when it defines a strong, successful “track record” of effectiveness. Being “old” is bad if it implies that something is “dated,” or not relevant.  Refreshing “dated” or “irrelevant” aspects of the CM must be carefully done in order to not destroy the positive reputation.

Scripture Foundation:

“Noone sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”  Mark 2:21-22

Short Answer:

We have all experienced “updates” to software or operating systems for our phones or computers that improved some performance but deleted some options that we really liked.  In times like this, we may ask, “Why did they take that away?” You can find online support groups that answer questions about these changes and give “work arounds” to try to replicate some of the things that were deleted from the update. 


Ministry is much like this.  Jesus experienced this in Mark 2 when He was asked about fasting. Jesus knew that the concept of fasting was good, but that it needed to be flexible when ministry was involved.


Jesus had just had an important meal with Levi (Matthew), and He was judged for eating with a tax collector and not fasting. Jesus taught us that changes to traditional ways of doing things are sometimes necessary.


In the CM, we must always evaluate how we are carrying out our calling.  As the society changes, our ministry efforts may need to adjust to reflect those changes.  How the CM has been operating, or what the CM has been doing in the programs or classes may have worked in the past, but it might be time for an adjustment to reflect the changing culture or needs of the children. The Gospel message never changes, but how we present it should suit the particular “audience” to whom we minister. 


If the Lord calls you to minister in a large inner city, you should create your ministry practices and efforts to suit that inner city culture.  If the Lord then calls you to minister to a remote, urban area, you need to adjust your ways of doing ministry to suit the people in that urban area.  The Gospel message is the same, but how you present it must be different from what you did in the inner city.  The needs and perceptions of today’s children and parents are different from the needs and perceptions of children and parents ten years ago. 


A CM may be described as “old” if it doesn’t adapt with the society changes.  To be “new” doesn’t mean that we discard everything we’ve ever done in the CM.  It simply means that we analyze how we “do ministry” in light of the needs and perceptions of today’s children and parents.  A good example of this is the use of flannel graphs in teaching children.  For years, the use of flannel graphs was a very effective and popular way to teach children.  But, in today’s world, flannel graphs aren’t as effective. It is almost certain that your church has a storage closet somewhere that holds boxes of unused flannel graph supplies.  In today’s world of electronic, visual excitement, flannel graphs are viewed as “boring” to some children. (Although, I’ve seen flannel graphs used effectively today by very animated, dramatic adults!)


So, analyzing the CM to see if it is “old” is a very complex process.  Here are some ways to improve your CM, and to get rid of any “old” remnants:


1) View YouTube videos about outstanding teachers. These will inspire you to make changes in your recruiting or training.



2) Visit other children’s ministries in your area.  Let the CM director know that you want to learn from what they do.  This will actually build bridges between your ministry and the ministries around you.


3) Invite creative people on your CM team to join you in a “think tank” to create new ways of doing things.


4) Pray for God’s creativity in this challenge. He knows your children and what they might be interested in!


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