Strength in Numbers
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:19
Make sure that children have someone that will pray for them as they come to respond. Whether it’s you, another adult, or a friend…
- If they are responding to salvation, Have people that will take those children aside, to the back of the room or to another room and instruct them on what has just happened.
- Have people who will come and pray for children as they respond to the message or as they lift up requests and needs. And guess what? Some of those who come to pray for the children are children. Encourage it… teach and instruct on it – you will be surprised.
- Have those who pray with kids use the old education model to affirm and seal what has just happened. The old education model says: “Tell them what you are going to teach them… teach them… tell then what you just taught them”. OK, just adjust it to a prayer time. After you know what the lesson emphasis is or what their needs are – “Tell them what you are going to pray about… pray with them… tell them what they just prayed about”.
Something that I think is a good idea is to give several different times to respond during various services. These times are as follows… but no limited to:
- First, how will the children in your church ever get saved unless you give them a chance to respond? Jesus wants your kids to know Him! I never want to be known as the guy who taught a lot about Jesus and was entertaining – only to have the children I’ve encountered pass on into eternity without knowing Christ. My time and their time is too short – and God’s time is too valuable.
- Second, I have found that God will send more unsaved and searching families to the churches I’ve been, when I put a regular emphasis on Christ’s saving power. That’s the goal of the church, isn’t it? In Acts, it says that they added to their numbers daily. We’ve got to get ahold of that!
- Third, my Pastor, no matter what topic or message he is speaking on, always brings it back to Jesus Christ and the price He paid for us. When it’s all said and done, It’s all about Jesus – enough said.
This is a special time for you to make sure that your children are really having a Jesus-experience that drives home the topic or emphasis for the day. This can be an amazing moment that happens… and I usually find that it happens immediately after I sense the kids have “gotten” it. (see this blog post for my short essay on this topic). Sometimes, I will have kids pray about these things on their own, other times, I’ll have others pray with the kids. Sometimes it calls for worship and singing, other times we need to lead the kids in a prayer of commitment.
I hear the jokes – not the need you have for some Betty Lukens felt-board stories. This will be an important time for children to lay before the Lord’s feet their needs and requests. Kids have needs and they need the power of God to intervene! You might think that a lost puppy or a cat that died isn’t important in the grand scheme of things. But that’s the grand scheme in “your world”. In a “Kids’ World”, the grand scheme is different. In a “Kids’ World”, their economy is different. In a “Kids’ World”, what speaks to them is different. If we are called to reach kids, we’d better have a greater understanding of “Their World” After all, Jesus understood it, called the kids to Himself and regularly entered it. He still understands it, calls kids to Himself and regularly enters it.
Enough to chew on?
Timing is EVERYTHING!
Give them an opportunity when the atmosphere is right. Deliver a message and invite children to respond. Don’t expect them to go home and respond. Yes, some might do that too. But I’m not going to take the chance. The Holy Spirit will begin to prepare the hearts of the children as the Word of God is presented. If you don’t give children a chance to respond to the work that’s being done in their heart, then the Holy Spirit is being held… or bound from doing what He wants to do. Remember, the Holy Spirit is a gentleman – He will wait for you to invite Him to intervene and operate.
The timing and types of altar calls must fit the purpose and message in your service in order to determine how effective the time at the altar will be. In developing my children’s services, I start on an “up” note… put the serious things in the middle… and then progressively build the excitement and end on an “up” note.
In this way the intensity of the service comes to a very serious point about half way to two thirds of the into the service. Then it will pick back up again from there to the end.
The reason that I put the altar call toward the middle and then more stuff at the end is simple. The altar time needs to be given as much time as the Holy Spirit needs. We have already covered the other bases of a children’s service… Prayer time has now been allotted a block of time – with some wiggle room.
We keep the remaining events for after the altar time. But I always try to be strategic in choosing the last items for the service: review questions/review games, related story and closing songs can be sacrificed. Yep, that’s right – I plan stuff that may never happen. Because that will give the “right of way” to the Holy Spirit’s moving and timing to another 15 minutes if we need it. So now we have a lot or time for prayer and response. And those last items aren’t just time-fillers because we can throw them out. Children can still benefit from review and another Fun song that emphasizes the theme for the day.