How Our Church Recruited 20 New Children's Ministry Pastors For $300 Per Year

Dave Griffith-Jones | July 2nd 2019

Every church I know wishes that it had more people and more money to be involved in children’s work. We all wish we had the resources to have more groups in Sunday School, more work in schools, more clubs during the week, so that more children could know and love Jesus. How can we recruit workers for this young harvest field?

Two years ago, St Columba’s, a small church I help lead in the North of England, was thinking about how we could reach more families. Our strategy included many of the standard ideas: we recruited more Sunday school leaders; we set up “Thursday Night Thing” where families can come each week, hear Bible stories, pray, sing, discuss and eat a meal together; we fundraised for and employed an amazing full-time families worker.

But God also gave us another simple idea: we decided that on the Sunday before any child has their birthday, we would give them a Christian book as a present. 

So for the last two years, that is what we have done. For each of the 30 or so children who come regularly to our church, we have chosen a book, wrapped it up, and given it to them up front in church, with a prayer that this year they would know more and more of how much God loves them (Ephesians 3:17-19).

A gift for the parents

The great effect of this has been that it has helped parents to start to fulfill their God-given role of bringing up their children to trust and follow the Lord Jesus (Deuteronomy 6 v 4-9, Ephesians 6 v 4). After all, they have far more time with their children than any paid church worker ever will!

There are so many beautifully written and produced materials for children available right now – but realistically most parents in our church won’t buy them. Now, with this new idea in place, once a year each of their children comes home excited about a present they got in church, and eager to read it with them. As their pastor, I get a chance to encourage them to read a bit each day and pray with their children when they come to say thank you. 

Then, when we’ve visited the families, our families worker and I have been really excited by how many parents tell us that their children love the books they have been given and ask to read them at bedtime. We’ve recruited about 20 parents to be the families workers God calls them to be, for less than $300 per year!

To get you started

So if your church wishes it had more people involved in children’s work, maybe this idea might work for you too? If so, here are my suggestions for books that make great birthday presents:

For under 4s, we love giving out books in the Tales That Tell the Truth series, that look as good as any Julia Donaldson book. We also give out The Beginner’s Bible and suggest they read one chapter a night at dinnertime or bedtime.

For 4-7s, we love giving the Jesus Storybook Bible and Big Picture Story Bible so that children (and parents!) can see how the whole Bible is one big story that points to Jesus. We sometimes give them Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing to help the good news to sink into their hearts, or a CD of Christian songs to sing along to in the car.

Once children are able to read well enough, we give them a grown-up NIV Bible and a set of XTB notes so they can start to read God’s Word for themselves. Others receive the Action Bible or a Word for Word Bible comic if that would suit them better. Books like Tricky and The Radical Book for Kids help them to think through what it means to follow Jesus for themselves.

I’ve just taken advantage of The Good Book Company’s Spark Wonder discounts to order all the presents to give away over the next year. Would you like to join me?

Dave Griffith-Jones

Dave is Team Rector in Drypool, east Hull, UK. Before that, he pastored in Toxteth, Liverpool. He is married to Helen and they have four children. Dave is a regular contributor to the Explore daily Bible-reading series.

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