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Building blocks

CMS missionary Erin Moorcroft is serving in the Republic of Ireland. She is committed to developing the basic building blocks of children’s ministry: well-trained teachers who know and teach the gospel. Read on to find out how she makes this happen.

Statistically speaking, two in three people who accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour do so before the age of eighteen. This highlights the importance of young people hearing the gospel message in their developing years.

So, the question becomes, who is sharing the gospel with children? From what I’ve seen both in Australia and Ireland, a lot of people don’t feel capable or confident to share the gospel with kids.

I want to counter this sense of feeling ill-equipped for children’s ministry. I’m passionate about giving people tools and encouragement to share the gospel with kids.

Helping those who feel ill-equipped

If you are leading an adult Bible study on a particular passage, knowing the passage yourself is essential. Preachers spend time digging deeper before writing a sermon so that they truly understand what they’re preaching on. In the same way, those involved in youth and kids’ ministry need to understand what they are teaching in order to effectively communicate it to the kids.

Since beginning ministry in Ireland, I’ve been working with local rectors to get them to think more about children’s ministry and their responsibilities as leaders in the church. Even though the rector may not be in the room, they still have a responsibility to ensure that the children are receiving sound teaching.

Initially, I’ve sought to understand what is already happening with regards to children’s work in the parish. From here, in partnership with the parish, we ask what is the long-term vision for children’s ministry? In order to get there, and for the leaders to serve well, they need to be trained and equipped for the work they will be doing.

In some churches, this has meant training the leaders in how to run a Sunday school. In other churches, I have helped start a Bible study for the Sunday school leaders, as they miss out on the sermon in the service because they are out teaching Sunday school.

“those involved in youth and kids’ ministry really need to understand what they are teaching in order to effectively communicate it to the kids.”

It’s so important to be equipping local believers to do this work as, being a cultural outsider, I will likely never be able to make the same inroads that they will. But I can equip the saints for the work of ministry.

I recently took a step back from other roles to teach a national certificate in children’s ministry for one school year. I am thankful for this amazing opportunity to influence and enthuse children’s workers across the Church of Ireland about teaching kids God’s word and the glorious gospel it proclaims.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my endeavours is lackluster commitment. The lives of some of our teachers are so busy that to run a Sunday School even fortnightly or to meet for Bible study on a regular basis is a lot to ask. I’ve had to start small, for example, running a monthly rather than a weekly Bible study. At times I can feel discouraged by these small beginnings. However, I persevere in the work of teaching the teachers because God has given me a heart for children to know his word.

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Have you had experience in teaching children? Do you love Jesus? Contact your CMS branch about opportunities to teach children about Jesus in another location.