Our Children’s ministry is “shallow”

Your Question:

“How can I make the CM more effective in impacting the lives of the children instead of just being fun?”

The Issues:

Churches may be “sucked into” the mindset that says, “We need to get more people to come to our church and keep those who do come.”  Yes, it is important to pay the bills, but being too focused on “getting” more people may lead a church to presenting a very “attractive,” yet shallow, ministry.  Being effective usually means going beyond a focus on “attraction,” and focusing on discipleship.

Scripture Foundation:

“…although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to reteach you the basic principles of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food!For everyone who lives on milk is still an infant, inexperienced in the message of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained their senses to distinguish good from evil.”  Hebrews 5: 12-14

Short Answer:

Children’s ministry needs to be “kid-focused,” and fun! We want children to want to come back!  We want children to tell their parents that they enjoyed spending time with the CM; but we also want to fulfill the “Great Commission,” to inspire children to be strong in the Lord, and to follow Jesus. If you sense that the CM is too “shallow,” there are things you can do to deepen the spiritual “roots” of the children without sacrificing the fun! 


Deep ministry can be fun, but it takes planning, prayer, and dedication. The first question you should ask is, “What makes the current CM ‘shallow’?”  The possible answers to that question could be:


1) The curriculum is “lite,” and doesn’t challenge the children.


2) The CM team doesn’t engage the children to build relationships or to challenge their thinking.


3) The activities associated with the lesson don’t provide an environment that challenges the children to apply the concepts to their own lives. 


If the “shallowness” of the CM is due to the curriculum, visit the section of this website about developing the CM curriculum.  Is the curriculum you are using just a basic curriculum that simply needs some “excitement” added to it?  Is the curriculum you are using just teaching the basic Bible stories, but the lessons aren’t specifically applied to the children’s personal lives?  If this is so, then the “shallowness” might be something that you can adjust by training your CM team members to go beyond the lessons and challenge the children with real, daily applications of the lessons.  Visit the section of this website about developing the CM team. Bible knowledge is good, but if it doesn’t affect the child’s decisions or commitments, then it is just “head knowledge.”  This is what James writes about in James 1: 22-27

Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves. For anyone who hears the word but does not carry it out is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and after observing himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and continues to do so—not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer—he will be blessed in what he does. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart, and his religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”


Jesus also underscores the critical importance of applying the scriptures to our own personal lives and decisions in Matthew 7: 24-27:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the torrents raged, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the torrents raged, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its collapse!”


Today’s children need help in understanding how to apply the Bible stories to their own personal lives. If the “shallowness” of the CM is connected to the activities of the CM, this can be fixed by meeting with the CM team before each event and clarifying what the purpose of the activity or event is.  Yes, each activity or event should be fun and interactive, but each CM activity should also be a “platform” for personally interacting with the children to build relationships and to challenge them spiritually.  This regular process can change the “culture” of the CM from a shallow focus on fun to a focus on developing deep relationships and spiritual mentorships for the children.


To deepen the impact of the CM on the children is not hard. It requires recruiting the right people (those who care about the spiritual strength of the children), training the CM team to focus on the “deeper things” of a CM event, and planning for specific conversations with the children during CM events or gatherings.  For more help in refreshing the children’s ministry, click on the APPENDIX link below.

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