Relational Discipleship

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Relational Discipleship

Serving in children's ministry holds great reward for those who serve kids in ministry.  There is a storehouse of treasure for those who serve children in the name of Christ.

1. The Power of Legacy

As leaders in Children's Ministry, we must constantly remind ourselves and our volunteers the long range vision of the Kingdom of God.  We need to remember that our investment in the lives of kids may take a lifetime bear its fullest fruit.  This takes faith.  It starts with relational discipleship.  It all starts with a simple relationship with a kid.  Though the greatest fruit is seen over the long haul, it truly starts with a simple investment.

"And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42

2. Children's Ministry - A Wise Investment

The statistics about Children's Ministry and the power of the Gospel are compelling.  A young person under the age of 13 is far more likely to trust Christ than someone in their 20's and 30's.  The statistics about this fact are inspirational.  The most important decision of all is the decision to trust Christ.  Statistics also show that a person hears the gospel, on average 7.6 times before they see their need for a Savior and respond to Christ in faith.  Let's start young!


3. The Beauty of Faith

We must trust God for the results of His plan.  We play a part.  He plays a part.  I may plant a seed, yet I may never sit under the shade of the tree that grows.  I am so honored to play a part in sowing seeds of the Gospel. Who knows how God will use our words and our lives in the lives of children.  Our job is to be faithful and trust God with the results.  The best time to plant an oak is 20 years ago.  The second best time to plant an oak is today.

By Josh Denhart February 10th, 2015


Altar Ministry with Kids


Altar Ministry with Kids

Kids ministry can be fun, relational, engaging, and relevant. A place for kids to belong, to be known, to be loved, and, ultimately, to be transformed. But for all of the money, people power, and creativity that is involved in ministry to children, we recognize that what they REALLY need are regular, life-giving encounters with the living God. 

This is the ultimate goal of the ministry we are doing ... to connect kids with a God who is bigger than their biggest problem, nearer than the closest fear. A God who is WITH them, who LOVES them, and who is MORE THAN ABLE to help them. 

This is why I would say that "the altar is the point," and the place we want all of our kids to arrive. However, I am not referring to "the altar" as a place in a building or even a moment in a service where everyone gets deep and serious all of a sudden. Rather, it is anytime and anyplace that we pause and bring our lives, issues, problems, fear, needs, and desires and present them before God, inviting Him in to be our ultimate life, hope, healer, and help. 

  • All of our ministry - whether in weekly service or during a special time at camp - builds to those moments when children interact with their HEAVENLY FATHER and are MARKED and changed by that experience forever.

THERE ARE 2 Scriptures guide how we do ALTAR MINISTRY with children:

SCRIPTURE #1  -- Mark 10:13-16

13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

1) “Let The Children Come To Me”: INVITATION

  • We will PRAY for a child as often as they are WANTING or WILLING  to receive prayer

  • NOT praying sinners prayers with them over and again, but encouraging and teaching them to:

    1. Respond to the WORD of God and PRESENCE of God

    2. HUMBLE themselves before Him, which involves

      • Recognizing their NEED for His help

      • REPENTANCE of sin and dead works

    3. ASK for His help

  • Ultimately, we want the to build a HABIT of turning to God in trust for His help

2) “Do Not Hinder Them”: DISCRETION

  • Do not FORBID or STOP any child wanting prayer or ministry

  • Do not let the WAY we do ministry keep kids from Jesus

    • Not necessarily short, but CONCISE


    • Sometimes you enter moments with kids when their eternal destinies are as close as the air you breathe, if you can simply speak the right words. In their language. Because the terms and analogies mature Christians use to discuss faith issues with each other are likely to be lost on kids.

  • Be AWARE of what God is and is not doing in the child at that moment. RESPOND ACCORDINGLY

3) “To Such Belong The Kingdom of God”: EXPECTATION

  • Do not ASSUME LESS than what God is capable of doing.

    • Dwight Moody understood the substantial victory that takes place when children accept Christ. Was asked, "Reverend Moody, were there any converts tonight?" The evangelist answered, "Yes, there were three and one-half." The friend responded, "Ah, three adults and a child." Moody clarified, "No, there were three children and an adult." He then continued, "An adult only has half a life remaining to live for Christ, but the children will have the entirety of their lives to know His blessing and serve His will."

  • EXPECT that God is READY to do MORE that you could ask or imagine (Eph 3:20)

SCRIPTURE #2 -- 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.


  • Faith comes from hearing ... The Word of God

  • We do not need to give them GOOD ADVICE, we need to give them the GOOD NEWS



  • We are not trying to prove OURSELVES

  • We are not in a hurry, do not FORCE SOMETHING that is not happening

  • Express HUMILITY, and LEAD THEM in humility

    • Bow before the LORD

    • VERBALLY recognize the greatness and the goodness of God

    • Approach the LORD with PRAISE for who He is and THANKSGIVING for what He’s done

  • ASK the LORD for what you wish …(Luke 11)



  • Get FULL of His Spirit in preparation for ministry

  • PAUSE to LISTEN to hear from God actively in our service and in ministering to kids.

  • Leave room for the PROPHETIC GIFT - Let God talk.

  • The BEST ministry we might bring to kids in a weekend might be a single word spoken by the power of God over and above ALL the lessons we prepare.



Tips for Leading Prayer in Small Groups

The Purpose of Prayer: 

  • Prayer time in your small group is undoubtedly the most important part of the service, because the ultimate end of Greenhouse Kids is to lead kids to grow in their relationship with God!
  • It is the most important thing you’ll ever teach these kids to do.
  • Is it easy for them? No! It takes a while for them to feel comfortable doing it. Sometimes sharing prayer requests is tough; some kids may not give a real request until they know the group better.
  • Does it get easier? Yes! The more they do it, the easier it gets. Sometimes it doesn’t get easier. If a child has a real hurt, or a prayer request that you’re concerned about, please notify a staff member. If you feel the need to discuss it with the kid’s parent, talk to the kid first to let them know. You don’t want to lose their trust!
  • The lessons are very important, but cut your lesson short before you leave out prayer time.

How to Lead Prayer in Your Small Group:

Writing Down Requests

  • Kids can write down everyone's prayer request to look at during the week.
  • Allow each kid to switch cards with someone else.
  • You could create a prayer journal to help communicate with your group throughout the week! You can follow up with each kid with a phone call regarding their prayer request.  

Prayer Time Ideas:

Prayer Partners

  • Have prayer partners within your group. Pair up kids to others they don’t already know. Make it their “job” to call one another during the week and pray with them about their request. 

  • Give points to kids who call their prayer partner

  • Pray in smaller groups—this is the best option!
  • Pray in a circle. Have everyone hold hands, and have one leader begin praying. Go clockwise around the circle, and anyone who wants to pray can. If someone chooses not to pray, they can squeeze the person’s hand next to them.
  • Make a prayer rule! Anyone who talks during prayer gets sent down to the coordinator immediately! No exceptions!

Limiting Prayer Requests

  • Some kids like to pray for ten different people, and all the requests don’t relate to them in anyway. Try to limit the requests to 1-2 per person. We want the kids to share a request because it means something to them, and we want them to pray for it also!
  • Lead them to pray for something that deals directly with them or their immediate family. There are exceptions, but feel free to set limitations.

The Key:  Never leave prayer time out of your small group! If you need to, cut your lesson short to pray.


Child Safety - Preventing Abuse Through Best Practices


Child Safety - Preventing Abuse Through Best Practices



  • NOTE: When you finish reading this article, please complete the short survey at the bottom. This will help us know that you've received this information.
  • PSS: If you have anything to contribute to these thoughts, feel free to add your comments below.

Ensuring the safety of all of our kids starts with BEST practices. The purpose of this article to to provide a quick glance at our basic policies and procedures to keep ALL of our kids SAFE and growing in our environment. This article will focus specifically on safety regarding the prevention of physical abuse. It is a combination of purposeful practice (doing the right things) and purposeful awareness (making sure others are doing the right things)

1) Adults visiting Greenhouse Kids have limited access

  1. Adults do not need to be in our building unless they are part of our volunteer team or they are with children who are in our ministry. Please discourage adults "just checking out" or cutting through the kids building. Be kind, be patient, but be ready to be firm. 

  2. Anyone planning to stay for a sevice to observe MUST check in at Registration.

    • A current driver's license is required.

    • They MUST wear their Red "guest" lanyard at all times.

    •  They MAY NOT take kids to the bathroom or otherwise be with children in a private or non-visible environment. Everything they do with children must be in public, visible areas with other adult volunteers present

2) You MUST be approved to work with kids.

We allow all potential volunteers and parents limited access to visit Greenhouse Kids or Sprouts (see above), but anyone planning to serve with children long-term must complete entirely a thorough background check and interview process, including (but not limited to):

  • A personal history questionnaire
  • Personal and professional references
  • A national background and criminal records screening
  • A sit-down interview with a staff member for final approval and assignment
  • Fingerprinting and further reference may be requested on a case-by-case basis.

3) NEVER Alone and Appropriate Touch

Adults and teenagers never should be alone with children. All classrooms and environments require at least 2 adults present at all times. If bathroom trips will be required (see bathroom procedures below), then you want to plan to have 3 adults in the classroom so that there will never be less than 2 adults present. If you see someone alone with a child, please address it and report it to coordinator immediately!

So far as touch goes, be wise and exercise discretion. Touch is an important tool to communicate that someone is loved, safe, and valued; but, it can also cause extreme discomfort and feeling of vulnerability. In general:

  • You should not allow children to sit on your lap.
  • Be wise about front hugs.
  • Have discretion about picking children up
    • en are not permitted to hold children of any age.
    • Women should be mindful when girls are wearing skirts and with picking up older children.

4) There a certain things MEN simply cannot do.

Hate to be the harbinger of hard truths, but men working with children is treated with a certain amount of skepticism and caution. There is tighter scrutiny. Certainly, this is in large part due to a history in the church-at-large of molestation and sexual abuse from men in authority positions over children.

While we must be aware of such dangerous patterns, we are also mindful that children and youth REQUIRE healthy male influence and authority figures in their discipleship process. Therefore, we must proceed, but with caution. So, here are some things that men may not do:

  • pick up a child
  • change diapers or assist with bathroom issues (unbuckling pants, wiping, etc)
  • enter a bathroom a child is in (this is recommended for all volunteers, not just men)
  • have a child in his lap
  • full-frontal hugs with a child

5) Rules for Kids’ Use of Bathrooms

  1. There must be at least 3 people for every bathroom trip - 1 leader + 2 kids. The principle here is visibility and accountability.
  2. For single-stall bathrooms (as in the kids' hall), only 1 child may be in the bathroom at a time.
  3. Leaders should not enter the bathrooms with kids. In the event of an emergency (i.e. a potty-training child is having issues and needs help), a FEMALE volunteer may enter to help, but only with another adult present (in the hallway) for the sake of accountability and awareness of all activity occurring in the bathroom.
  4. Leaders should not personally use the restrooms in the kids' hall, but should use adult bathrooms in the area.


The way we are going to make sure all of our kids are safe at all times is if we assume it is OUR reponsibility. Don't assume someone else saw what you see or will take care of it so you do not have to. If you see someone doing something inappropriate or suspicious ADDRESS IT IMMEDIATELY and REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY. Working together, we will be able to prevent even the most malicious intentions. 


This is, by no means, a conclusive statement. Things may be added and edited as appropriate. The end-game is that we work together, as a team, to keep kids safe in all of our events and environments. 

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The Five Faith Skills (an introduction)


The Five Faith Skills (an introduction)

GHKids Core Values


I believe in getting a team prepared so it knows it will have the necessary confidence when it steps on a field and be prepared to play a good game.

-Tom Landry; legendary coach for the Dallas Cowboys

We Have To Prepare Them ... To Leave

From the time a child enters first grade until they graduate 5th grade, we have 250 weekends at most before they move on into Middle School. That is our maximum impact potential - not counting days lost due to sickness, vacations, joint custody, or not feeling up to being at church. 

For a small group leader, that means you have less than 250 hours where you personally will be able to influence a child before they move on to Middle School. That is why every hour counts. That is also why, from the very start, our role and responsibility in children’s ministry is to prepare and equip kids for what comes next. 

The goal is to influence kids to develop and maintain a personal relationship with God that remains long after they’ve left the structure of our ministry. This is the challenge of Small Group ministry - in order to leverage influence, we must first gain a position of influence. However, once we’ve developed relationship and earned a position of influence in a child’s life, we have to become experts at leveraging and using that influence to shape them and train them as disciples. 


One of the questions we face in children's ministry is - Are we to approach small group leadership as TEACHERS (typified by the Sunday School format), directing our effort and energy towards INSTRUCTION and KNOWLEDGE; or, are we to approach our ministry as MENTORS (typified by the Small Group format), directing our energy and effort into building RELATIONSHIPS of TRUST? For a while, I've struggled with as an either-or scenario. Either we teach kids OR we disciple kids. However, I am more convinced that we MUST do BOTH. Discipleship is BOTH doing life with someone AND training them in the ways of Jesus. It is the laborious work of building the FOUNDATION upon which the structure of their lives will later be built.  

This has brought my attention to a 3rd model of how we can lead our kids. Rather than the model of a teacher who would focus of instruction, or a mentor who would focus on relationships of trust, we want to look at the example of a coach. Coaches bridge the gap. They uses relationship and influence as a platform to develop and train. They both meet kids where they are at and have a training plan to develop them into what they can become.

1) Dialogue with God (public and private)
2) Articulate Faith (share and defend)
3) Navigate the Bible (survey and locate)
4) Personalize Scripture (memorize and apply)
5) Worship with Your Life (praise and give)

Coaches work tirelessly to develop their players into champions. They practice fundamentals again and again until they are certain that, in the moment of pressure, their players will perform to the highest calibre. Because coaches know they cannot go on to the field with their players. Once they release their team on the field, they will see the quality of the foundation they've built be tested. 

So, coaches focus on a limited subset of skills, practices, and behaviors and rehearse them over and again until they become a part of the player's muscle-memory. For us, in helping children become disciples, we this subset of practices our "Five Faith Skills"

These are the practical methods through which we help kids to engage personally with the invisible, infinite God. However, they are not natural to us or easy to attain. They are and must be intentionally learned and purposefully maintained for them to have an impact in the life our the children we serve. This requires discipline - starting with us. In order for our kids to grow personally in their relationship with God, we must be deliberate with these faith skills to:

  1. Plan Them - plan ahead of time which skills would fit in the context of an upcoming lesson
  2. Model Them - don't just tell them how to do it, SHOW them how to do it
  3. Practice Them - make space regularly to teach and rehearse the skills, give challenges for them to practice these skills at home 
  4. Reinforce Them - FOLLOW up - if you give an challenge, make sure they do it. Ask what went well and help them improve.

This is, then, what we are called to do - Coach them and train them in developing a life-long transformative relationship with God.

Thanks for being a part of the team.

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