My final thoughts on this topic are about implementing significant changes in our approach to children’s ministry :

Tammy Tolman in her book, Piece by Piece makes eight suggestions to change the direction of a children’s ministry that is merely seeking to entertain children. The following four are particularly relevant:

• “Stop teaching at them and start empowering them to actually discovering for themselves the difference Jesus can actually make in their life
• Stop speaking at them and start putting them into situations that allow them to experience that God’s truth is real
• Stop telling them stories of other people’s lives that have been changed by God and start challenging them about their own lives
• Stop making them sit and watch you and encourage them to start serving and doing ministry for themselves” (Tolman 2008:137).

These four suggestions all speak of children being active participants in the learning process. Rather than expecting children to sit around learning faith by osmosis, they need to experience God for themselves. One way of doing this is by giving children responsibilities, either within the children program or during the Sunday service; responsibilities such as taking up the offering, welcoming, Bible reading etc. Encouraging children from a young age to fulfil an upfront role gives them a sense of belonging as well as helping them own their own faith.

Furthermore parents need to be aware of the role they play in modelling faith. If they are not engaged when they are at church neither will their children be.