Mentoring Kids to Serve for Ministry

Helping Kids Discover Their Ministry Gifts and Passion

by David Reneau / September 21, 2017

A few years ago, I read Brian Dollar’s book, I Blew It. In one chapter he talks about investing in the next generation and mentoring kids to serve. I had done this in my previous church, but I wasn’t happy with the curriculum, so I contacted Brian and ordered his curriculum.

I went through it and thought about how to work it into my church context and made some adjustments. I started my first class, called K-Team, a few months later with 12 students. Four of them— still to this day, five years later—have major roles in the children’s ministry. They serve as some of our main children’s church worship leaders and presenters.

I believe you can do this too. You have kids in your ministry right now who God is calling into full-time ministry. You have other kids who will be lifelong servants. Either way, we want all our kids to have an authentic lifelong faith in Jesus Christ. Mentoring them to serve in ministry is one of the most surefire ways to do that. But how?

Here are five steps in mentoring kids to serve:

1) Discover their gifts and passions.

Our church uses a spiritual gift assessment for all new volunteers. We use the results to help prospective volunteers find the best place for them to serve within the Body of Christ. I took this assessment and put it into the K-Team curriculum. What I’ve discovered is that while fifth and sixth graders may not have five gifts, they do have one. This is the gift we capitalize on. Since K-Team is only 6 weeks, I started a K-Team+ group that continues training until they enter ninth grade. At the beginning of K-Team+, we ask them where they want to serve every week, based on their spiritual gift. When we really hit their sweet spot, they keep coming back and want to learn and do more.

2) Give them responsibility.

I use the K-team for greeters, sound assistants, game helpers, and much more every week. Once a year I give them the entire service. They have the opportunity to lead the entire large group part of our service. It’s a big job, and we spend weeks preparing and practicing. This is where I usually see their gifts truly shine, and this gives me insight as to what step should be next.

3) Invest in their future.

During the K-Team process, we are constantly teaching the kids. Every kid is required to memorize Scripture every week and read their Bible every day. If they fail to do so, they are not invited back for the next semester. We want them to have the tools they need to be successful in church and in life, so they learn about serving others, service planning, spiritual truths, as well as practical hands-on kids’ ministry—like puppets, acting, and video production.

4) Partner with parents.

I know these are buzz words in Kidmin right now, but this is essential for their spiritual and ministerial growth. Every week after class I talk with the parents about what is coming up and how their kid is doing. I let them know about the spiritual gifts and the passions their kids are displaying. I build relationships with the parents so I can ask if there are problems with their kids at home or at school. During the week, I email the parents the lessons, Scripture memory verses, and Bible reading. The parents love what their kids are learning and nothing is better than seeing the joy and pride on the parents’ faces as they watch one of their kids teach others about Christ.

5) Send them off.

There comes a time when kids may have outgrown what you can teach them or their passions lay in another ministry. This is the point when you should send them off. Let them serve in other ministries, send them to summer internships, find them jobs in ministry or otherwise. As much as a mentor must know what to do next, they also must know when to let go. It’s hard and sometimes hurts, but it’s better for them and the other kids coming up.

Nothing I’ve done in children’s ministry has brought me more joy and satisfaction than mentoring kids to serve. I look forward to the new class every year and pray for them constantly.

If you don’t have a mentoring system, I encourage you to create one. Let’s make a difference in the lives of kids!