Introduction to Children’s Ministry
1 semester, 4 credit points.
This subject is a great introduction to thinking theologically about children’s and families ministry. Children and families are not only a vital part of any church community, they are the future of the church as well. This subject involves much more than simply thinking about playdough or craft – it wrestles with different approaches to children’s ministry and takes you back to God’s word to help shape your understanding of children’s ministry practice. Anyone training for ministry, even if not specifically children’s ministry, ought to consider taking this subject to equip them for ministry in the future.
Section A: Children and Faith Development (40%)
- Biblical perspectives on children: introduction to theology of childhood; implications for ministry.
- Human and child development; ages and stages of growth; introduction to developmental theories; implications for programs and relationships.
- Children and God; overview of moral and faith development; survey of a variety of perspectives such as Fowler, Westerhoff, Groom, Bridger, Buckland.
- Children and the church; history of children in the church; recent trends.
- Children and their culture; influences on children – school, friendships, family, media; introduction to multi-cultural/multi-faith issues.
Section B: Church-Based Children’s Ministry: An Introduction (40%)
- An introduction and overview of children’s ministry; a definition; exploration of the experience of participants; aims, philosophy and strategy; introduction to leadership – motivation, self care, integrity, leading teams.
- Developing aims, philosophy, strategies, evaluation, vision; principles for good organisation and planning; exploring a variety of models and sizes; choosing and adapting curriculum and materials.
- Children as part of the worshipping community; children’s ministry as an integral part of the life of the church; all age worship; designing services that are all age friendly; learning together and separately; building an all age community; environment and facilities.
- Nurturing faith and discipleship; encouraging parents, caregivers, and the church in nurture and discipleship of children, prayer for and with children; helping children read and understand the Bible; children and the Holy Spirit; training children for ministry; children and spiritual gifts.
- Evangelism and outreach; organisation and planning; structures and programs; liaison with other churches; evangelism and the family; evangelism and schools; evangelism and the community; relational work; assisting children to faith.
- Safety and care for staff, parents and children; developing a safety policy; premises; insurance; legal issues.
Section C: Ministry in Practice (20%)
- Supervised Field Education: At least 20 hours work to be undertaken in one of the following areas: holiday and after-school programs; family ministry; camps; school religious education; church-based religious education; other work as approved by the course coordinator.