Evangelizing Through Children's Ministries
Editorial by Diane Gregg
One Sabbath Grandma dropped off her five grandchildren at church. She was familiar with the Seventh-day Adventist Church—and the Grafton (W.Va.) church, in particular—from visiting their food pantry and letting the children attend Vacation Bible School (VBS).
In addition to attending church services each week, the grandchildren participated in the summer Community Picnic and the Christmas program. One of the younger boys joined Adventurers. Whenever there was a social gathering, they were there, mainly because they were hungry. Each Sabbath they stayed for fellowship lunch and took a plate home for Grandma to eat.
Grandma is on disability with a limited income. Dad is in prison. Mom drifts in and out of the children’s lives, depending on her drug addiction. Thus, church members delivered Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets to the family and gave them gift cards to buy clothes or shoes. They also helped Grandma when she received a gas shutoff notice. Over the course of a year, these kids have bonded with the Grafton church family, and members of the congregation have seen a change in Grandma.
When she began bringing the children to church, she wouldn’t smile and it was dif cult to engage her in conversation. Now Grandma is not only smiling, but laughing. She initiates conversations, calls and texts. She opens up about issues with the children and the problems with her daughter’s drug addiction. Grandma does not attend church services, but she allows the children to attend VBS and Christmas programs.
This is a perfect example of how we can win, not only the trust of children in our communities, but their parents and grandparents as well. In Ministry of Healing, we read that “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’” (Ellen G. White, p. 143). This is Children’s Ministries. This is evangelism.
The top three programs under the Children’s Ministries umbrella to reach children in our communities are Vacation Bible School, Adventurers and Children’s Health Expos. Please consider starting one of these programs in your church, and reach a child for Jesus.
Diane Gregg serves as Children's Ministries director for the Mountain View Conference