In the Bible, Jesus says, “Let the children come to me” (Mark 10:14). Even so, many parishes don’t put much emphasis on children’s ministry due to lack of volunteers and resources or a small budget. This can be a mistake for the community. Because although it does take volunteer efforts, time, and money to create a successful program, it’s an investment that can lead to greater involvement and a richer faith life as kids grow up.
There Are a Few Reasons it’s Important to Invest in Children’s Ministry
1. It Fosters Faith
Among the benefits of children’s ministry is the environment in which children can learn about Jesus and the Church. It can give them an enjoyable social experience and help them to look forward to coming to Mass. And, perhaps most importantly, the things they learn in the ministry can help find happiness, make sense of the world and counter negative worldly influences, teach them to avoid sin, and create special memories that will last for a lifetime.
2. It Leads to Greater Family Involvement
Research from “Children’s Ministry Magazine” shows that 65 percent of parents are regularly involved in ministry at their church, with an additional 32 percent being either occasionally or moderately involved. A majority of those asked (76 percent) said the children’s ministry at their parish plays a key role in their church.
In a similar vein, families whose kids are involved in ministry tend to be more committed to their church (more than half had been members for at least 10 years) and have a greater level of financial commitment (57 percent tithe weekly). A strong children’s ministry can also attract families, with 62 percent saying children’s ministry is a very important consideration when deciding on a home parish.
3. It Benefits the Church
Today’s children are tomorrow’s priests, community leaders, and parents in the church, so children’s ministry is a long-term investment in the vibrancy of the parish. A program that families want their kids to be part of — and one that kids want to attend — often leads to more committed families and thus greater church involvement and support. Ministry helps kids uncover their spiritual gifts and talents that they can then share with the parish. The presence of children in the church also gives adults a chance to see childlike faith in action.
Things to Consider
There are some common roadblocks to building a successful children’s ministry:
Budget: It can take more money and manpower to run a ministry for children as opposed to other demographics in the church.
Volunteers: Leading a children’s ministry is a big commitment and requires many volunteers, especially if the parish doesn’t have a dedicated children’s minister. Training and assistance for those who are teaching and leading is essential to the success of the program and increases the likelihood that volunteers will feel that their work is valued and worthwhile. Taking care of the volunteers is important to ensuring the ministry’s success.
Leadership Support: Encouragement from the priest and parish leadership is crucial. If those people buy into (and continually invest in) the program, and the parish sees it growing and kids enjoy learning about Jesus, it is likely to have more resources given to the ministry.
What kind of children’s ministry does your church have? What has your experience been setting one up? Let us know below.