What’s the #1 question you ask before planning any party? It’s the same for birthdays, graduations, 4th of July BBQs, weddings, and even religious services. If you’ve never given it much thought, there’s a fundamental starting point for every gathering of people— from fancy holiday soirees to informal family functions and everything in between. It’s even true for founding fathers and mothers who feel God’s call to ministry, the need to clarify their mission, and a desire to start a church family. You know what the #1 question is, right?
#1 Why are we getting together?
Before shipping out “Save the Date” cards or returning an RSVP, landing your “Why?” is always Question #1. So what’s Question #2? While many questions follow “Why are we getting together?”, there’s one that always guides the next conversation. It’s a strategic concern on everyone’s minds, whether it’s officially on the table or not. In extended families, the #2 question gets asked at Thanksgiving and its answer determines who sits where during dinner. Moms and dads discuss it every weekend; the decision affects their family schedule, who they see, and how money gets spent. In the world of ministry, it’s an ongoing, core question that has many viable answers, though no one ever seems completely satisfied with the final answer. Do you have an idea what your church’s #2 question is?
#2 What do we do with the kids?
As I’ve engaged with churches across the nation and around the world, “What do we do with the kids?” is routinely top of mind. Right after “Why are we getting together?”, church leaders need a strategic solution that will biblically, practically, and relevantly care for children in their family of faith. While answering “What do we do with the kids?” can turn deeply theological, it also generates a short list of highly pragmatic responses.
How does your church answer its #2 question? Here are a handful of common answers from today’s churches. Any of these similar to yours?
- We love kids— it’s why we built them spaces to learn about and worship God.
- We love kids— it’s why we equip parents to strengthen discipleship at home.
- We love kids— it’s why we create kid-friendly moments in our worship service.
- We love kids— it’s why we offer ways for families to serve through the church.
- We love kids— it’s why we welcome them as divine image-bearers, dearly loved and purposefully created by God, into our family of faith from day one.
Honestly, it’s rare to find a ministry leader who doesn’t start his/her response to their church’s #2 question by saying, “We love kids…” Still, not every answer is aligned with how Jesus values children. Many churches look like they believe the world about kids, but what’s subtly driving decisions and being communicated is actually, “Kids are great, we just need them out of the way so it’s distraction-free for adults to worship, connect, and serve here.” When this mindset (or rather, heart-set) creeps in, it inevitably taints whatever is said after “We love kids…”
My guess is that your leadership’s answer to its church’s #2 question is a hybrid of what’s above. Practically speaking, there are many God-honoring solutions to “What do we do with the kids?” However, anything similar to “make sure we offer childcare” or “teach them the Bible” isn’t really getting at the heart behind the question.
Please don’t miss this. How your church answers “What do we do with the kids?” matters deeply to our heavenly Father’s heart. If you don’t believe me, it’s time for you and your family of faith to revisit Matthew 18-19. This is why, every now and again, you need to revisit the answer to your church’s #2 question. What follows “We love kids…” trickles down into everything you do and everyone you reach. It affects what goes on your ministry calendar, how budgets get allocated, the type and number of volunteers needed, and ultimately, the way kids experience Christ in your church family.
To assist you with adjusting or affirming the way you answer your church’s #2 question, wrestle with what’s below as a leadership team. It will help you land a godly, robust response to, “What do we do with the kids?”
- In our church, we believe the Bible teaches that all kids, of every age, are…
- Our ministry’s desire is that kids and families will know, love, and serve God by…
- We want every child who our family of faith reaches to encounter Jesus as…
- Beyond answering, “What do we do with the kids?”, our leadership is committed to…
Once you and your team have taken time to process how you completed the sentence starters above, write out your own “We love kids—” statement so everyone in your church is clear on the heart behind how you answer your church’s #2 question.
We love kids—[Insert Your Church’s Answer to Question #2 Here]