In this episode, Jenny Funderburke Smith points toward some specific ways to create a gospel-centered approach to kid's ministry, regardless of the size of your church or the curriculum you use. She also shares some very helpful tips on how to structure discipline within our ministry environments for children.

Jenny Funderburke Smith

Connect with Jenny on her Blog and Twitter.

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What does it mean to be Gospel-centered?

  • The gospel is not just “you get saved and that's it”
  • Presenting the grace and truth of the gospel EVERY WEEK, regardless of your curriculum
  • The gospel affects more than just their eternity, it affects their day-to-day lives
  • Not a checklist of do's and don'ts
  • Point back to Jesus at some point in every service – He's the Hero
  • Present the BIG PICTURE of God as Creator, sin, and Jesus as our Savior
  • Problem: there is a lot of games and fun out there in Children's ministry, but not a lot of Jesus sometimes
  • What you focus on will define your ministry (Fun, Environments, Volunteers, etc.)
  • Check out the website
Discipline within Kids Ministry
  • Anything goes vs. Nothing goes
    • Anything goes: don't want to make anyone upset, in an effort to make come back; very few boundaries
    • Nothing goes: all rules, very strict and not much fun
  • The root of the word Discipline is “disciple”
  • Figuring out boundaries and consistent rules/consequences
    • Verbal Warning
    • Remove from game/activity
    • Take out of the room (opportunity for a gospel conversation)
  • Base level expectations: Show love for God, Show God for others, Show love for yourself
  • Use 20-seconds of the service to set expectations; not just a list of do's and don'ts
Working with kids that have experienced trauma
  • Trauma-informed care: understanding the experiences of a child and approaching situations with specific strategies based on their trauma
    • Ex: foster care, divorce, abuse, adoption from a foreign country, refugees, etc.
  • These kids need relationship and understanding and should find it within the church

Action Items

  1. Evaluate your approach through gospel filter
  2. Create culture/language for discipline ideal
  3. Check out Revitalize – particularly if you're small

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