Saving the “Now” Generation
By: Carla Burton
Society would like to say that this generation of children is the “next” generation. We make statements such as “when you grow up” or “when you get a little older”. But The Turning Point Children’s Ministry Team is working under the concept that our children are the “NOW” generation. God loved to use children throughout the Bible. He used Samuel, when he couldn’t get the high priest to hear his voice. He used a young eight year old King to make more godly changes in Israel than any other King before or after him. God loves to use children to get the work of the Kingdom done.
The statistics are working against the church of today if we are not putting our Children’s Ministry as one of the most important ministries in our church. It is said that 85% of all adults in the church today are there because they were won as children and stayed. The ratio goes down to around 15% of adults are won to the Lord as adults. You can see where the church needs to focus much of their outreach, financial resources, and calendar time to Children’s Ministry events.
The Turning Point strives to make this a reality. We always begin a new Children’s Ministry push as school begins to be in session. In July of this year we had a Saturday outreach in which we gave away school sup-plies. We set up in our parking lot and had the cars drive through to get their supplies. As they pulled up they were asked to fill out a survey in which we ask them if they would bE interested in their children attending Sunday school and if we could pick them up on the bus. In one hour we gave away 104 school supply kits. The following Sunday we picked up four new children and had four new adult: in our sanctuary. Since then we have picked up over 11 new children who are riding our buses to church. We also took the time at thi’ event to pass out cards announcing our upcoming Children’s Ministry events.
We followed up this event with our annual Vacation Bible School, which we have been hosting for over seven years. When we began this program through our church, we only had 20 children. This year we went with the program Avalanche Ranch: After decorating our Kidz Center in a western theme and having our VBS staff dress in their best western gear, we began an exciting wee:, of outdoor activities, worship, arts and crafts, and teaching. Our attendance for this week was 89 children with over 40 of them being brand new visitors. We ended this exciting week by hosting a campfire cookout for all the children. It was exciting to see the interest that this event produced for the Kingdom of God.
The final phase of our Children’s Ministry push took place in August, when we hosted a Section 5 Children’s Revival with Mike and Vicki Oliver. Our theme this year was “No Limits — with God all things are possible.” It was wonderful to walk into the foyer and be in outer space. There were glow in the dark stars, planets, and we walked on clouds looking down at earth and the airplanes flying beneath us. We entered the service and it was exciting to see our children actually being the ministers during this event. The SWAT team from First Church in Nashville ministered to us as well as The Turning Point King’s Kids Choir and the Rock-n-Soul puppet team. It was awesome to see the Lord move through our children as they ministered to the congregation. We had over 220 in attendance and after Sister Oliver spoke a simple but true message about getting our hearts clean; we had 15 children receive the Holy Ghost. There was much rejoicing in heaven that evening.
The next day we hosted a special teacher training session called, “Birthing the Burden”. We were excited to see over 40 teachers from surrounding churches attend this session to be strengthened, encouraged, and renewed in their burden. Sister Oliver spoke under the anointing of the Holy Ghost about understanding who we are and the bur-den that must be birthed in us for Children’s Ministry. The power of God was so strong on
these teachers as they spent time around the altar seeking and desiring a renewed vision
We wrapped our “No Limits” children’s revival up on Sunday with two services in
which the children were the ministers. Brother Oliver taught us each service about the four steps of worship unto the Lord. (1) Close your eyes and focus on Jesus (2) Lift up your head so that He can look at your face (3) Lift up your hands like He lifted up His hands for you and (4) Speak to him in your playground voice so that He can hear every word you have to say to Him. How beautiful to see even the adults doing that throughout the sanctuary. After we closed this revival we had 21 children receive the Holy Ghost and we baptized seven in the name of Jesus.
It is time to understand that our children are the “NOW” generation in our churches. Win children and you can win families. Focus on children and you will see your church grow. They are easy to win, easy to teach and easy to develop for Christ! Focus on your “NOW” generation and you won’t have to worry about the “next” generation of your church.
This article “Saving the “Now” Generation” written by Carla Burton is excerpted from Pentecostal Voice of Tennessee an October 2007 edition.