18 Oct 2017

Why we need more men in kids’ ministry

Written by Kym Abbott

I had been struggling to get the boys at church engaged in praise and worship when I asked one of the dads to come and join in.

Soon Baz was bopping around on stage busting some daggy dad moves to Jesus You’re my Superhero and the boys were smiling.

A little later, I also asked another dad to come down and help with some actions for a Bible story, and the pattern continued.

Within weeks the kids were more engaged, more attentive and even showing signs of leadership themselves. The lesson I learned from all this was clear…

Get men involved in kids’ ministry and the kids will take faith more seriously

My anecdotal experience is backed up by stats, too.

A 1994 Swiss census survey found that fathers who regularly practised their faith overwhelmingly had children who were also practising their faith.

  • 66% of children were continuing to practise their faith when there was a non-practising mother.
  • 74% when the mother was also regularly practising.
  • On the flip side, only 39% of children were continuing to practice their faith in families with a regularly practising mother but a non-practising father.

So how can you get more men involved in kids’ ministry?

Getting more men involved will mean you have to be creative, think outside of the box, and look for opportunities that match the personalities of the men in your congregation.

Here are some ways that I have involved men in children’s ministry:

  • Daggy Dad: He’s the guy that’s prepared to dress up in a novelty fat man/camel suit/as an angel, tell dad jokes and daggy dance. (These men are surprisingly easy to find!)
  • Admin Andrew: I call them Kids’ Church wardens. Offload some of your admin tasks like set up, pack up, roll taking and risk assessments onto Admin Andrew.
  • Muso Mike: Anyone who can strum a guitar is dying to express their hidden Colin. Get ‘em on board!
  • Liturgical Larry: Kids need to learn the Lord’s Prayer and Apostles’ Creed. Get Liturgical Larry to teach them where to find it in the Book of Common Prayer.
  • Green-haired Grandad: Dress-up a Grandad, get the kids to find him over morning tea and recite the memory verse to him. (Even more effective if you give Grandad some sort of reward to offer!)

The benefits of involving men in kids’ ministry

  1. In my experience, dads often bring a sense of fun and discipline to kids’ ministry. That means more controlled risk-taking activities, which are great for boys and girls.
  2. They provide a role model for your male youth leaders and boys.
  3. Their presence says to the kids that Jesus is important.

It seems that involving women in ministry to children has not been a challenge for us. For a long time, Sunday School, Kids’ Club and Kids’ Church have been the domain of kind, caring, nurturing, women…and I thank God for that!

But, if you can find ways to turn your men from caterpillars (creatures that slink in and out of church trying not to be noticed) into pillars of your kids’ church, you will go a long way to seeing your kids and your children’s ministry grow.

Kym Abbott is the Children’s Minister at St James’, Turramurra.

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