Today's post is from my friend, Travis Young. Travis is a veteran children's ministry pastor. He is currently the children's pastor for the Pinnacle Hills campus of his church. He has an incredible heart for reaching kids and families with the Gospel.
In this article, he talks about how you can reach kids and families for Christ during a global pandemic.
Jesus spoke with all authority in heaven and earth that had been given to Him when He gave the great commission to the church to...
“Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19.
This commission is given to every Christian and is to be on the forethought of our minds even during this season of pandemic, when it is difficult to keep in touch, much less see the kids in our churches.
So how do we reach children for Christ during a global pandemic?
First and foremost we must keep the Gospel at the center of all we do. In desperation, just to keep in touch with families, we can get wrapped up in phone calls, texts, emails, virtual church, Bible packet distributions and “touch-less services.”
So how do we look at everything we are doing during this season when everything is upside down and consistently keep the Gospel front and center? Here are a few practical suggestions that I have been working to build upon during this season. I hope they might encourage you. I wish I could sit across the table from children’s ministers from across the nation and learn what God has been leading you to do as well.
1. Personal evangelism. The crowds may not be coming to you on Sundays, but you are coming into contact with people throughout each day that need Jesus just the same. Be on the watch for people in your everyday life who you can share the gospel with. Ask the Holy Spirit to embolden you to take the intentional time to build relationships where you may formerly not have invested.
2. Virtual teaching. Provide video sermons for children and don’t miss any opportunities to share the Gospel with school age children, every time you film. You never know who is going to view your online sermons.
3. Zoom in on Jesus. During your video chats, look for opportunities to lift up Jesus as Lord during this time of uncertainty. Share with children the certainty of your eternal salvation and how they to can come to know Christ as Lord.
4. Phone a friend. Personal phone calls are vital during the pandemic. People are longing for connection. Get parents' permission to contact their children. When talking to them, have scriptures ready to share with them. Be sure to pray with them. And don’t miss the opportunity to ask them about their relationship with God during this time.
5. Follow-up on the faithful. During the past year in your church you may have had several children who made first steps of faith in Jesus, and they were moving along the path to committing their lives to Christ and being baptized. Continue to call on these families. Ask parents how their child is doing on their journey of faith. Offer to meet with them if they would like to council with you.
6. Packet pick-up. As shepherds of God’s flock, we should continually be providing resources and Biblical instruction to those under our care. Evaluate what channels you are using to distribute Bible materials to children in your ministry. Online, social media, drive by packet pick-ups, e-mail, text, carrier pigeon? By all means go out to all people with the gospel.
7. Sunday services. Once your church resumes with Sunday services, come to each services with the expectation that people are seeking a relationship with Jesus maybe more now than ever. Provide something special for kids. Though you may not be able to go all out for kids' programing, be intentional to reconnect them with small group leaders and familiar faces in your ministry.
8. Parent preachers. God has called parents to be the primary faith influencers of their families. Now more than ever, their kids are counting on them to be strong in their faith and teach them the Word of God. Pray for, prepare and equip parents with tools and resources to share the Gospel with their kids. You can post gospel materials, online, email or snail mail to an inquiring family. Maybe even follow-up and say, "hey you know those materials I sent you last week? I just wanted to call and see how your children responded when you shared that with them."
9. Text me your response. The day of someone walking down the center isle to the alter to pray with the pastor to receive Christ is not as common in many church settings these days. Faith talks often take place in the context of relationships in groups or private meetings with ministers and the family. Texting has also become a preferred method for many to text their info to a number provided during the services or on church websites for a minister to contact them to talk further. Be sure to follow-up promptly on these. If it is a child or teenager who has responded, be sure to connect with their parents first.
10. Let’s do lunch. Kids may not be getting out of the house as much these days, but many of their parents are returning to work and restaurants are opening back up in limited capacity. This may be a good time to invite parents out for a lunch or coffee to catch-up. In your conversation ask the question, "How is your child doing in their walk with God during the pandemic?” Listen, ask them how you can pray for them and make suggestions of resources that may be beneficial to them teaching their children spiritual truths.
The great commission closes by stating this,
"Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.
Jesus promises to be with you in your effort to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Be faithful to teach the word of God in season and out and trust that the Lord of the harvest is at work all around you and be encouraged that God is still redeeming many souls during this pandemic.
You may be surprised just how many kids have been softened to the Gospel and God has placed you in their lives to share the Gospel. May God use your witness to drawn them into a saving faith in Christ. Reaching kids for Christ during a global pandemic may look different than in the past, but all your efforts and devotion to reach children with the Gospel come with a promise that Jesus will be with you no matter what.