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Last year on holiday I taught my two sons that you could start a fire with the sun and a magnifying glass (I took precautions).

You can take the same principle to start a kids ministry fire.

There are three areas you need to look at:

Vision

Need

Resources

Vision

When we talk about getting a vision from God, we think that it is perfect and complete and if we go for it it will happen.  Visions however are often large beasts and we get in the way.  You need to build a vision…or rather understand the vision that God has given you.  So often its not a new direction in a church, but rather where you have already come from.  Its about looking back to know how to move forward.  The easiest way I have found to do it is to get all your leaders together and tell each other stories of what they have seen over the years of the church as triumphs in children’s work.  Not just the good event, but where you have seen God actually work in the lives of children.  Commitments…fruit of the Spirit…children learning to lead…children praying.  That is just some ideas.

Then take a step back and identify key words and phrases…what kind of thing gets mentioned over and over…

Narrow it down again to just a few words.  3-5 is ideal.

Now create a sentence which goes beyond where you are now, but captures the feeling behind those words.  I did a similar thing when i was looking back over 25 years of my own kidzministry to develop the three words of this website.  Then I came up with a statement which has to be so ambitious I have to rely on God to see it happen.

A vision gives you a context which helps you decide what you will say no to (it falls outside your vision), but can also beThe  a signpost to what you will say yes to.

Need

This involves listening to your community…to the parents…to the children.  By listening I mean asking them questions about what they would like to see.  Here’s a phrase…”assume makes an ass out of u and me”

You will be asking them what it is that brings them closer to God.  You are also asking them what they would like to discover about God.  You are also asking them what they find hard about life.  What they need help with.  This does take time to get ideas, and its really the focusing mechanism of the magnifying glass, moving it in and out until the focus is right.  It’s taken 4 years of listening and just being part of a community for me to work out how we are going to focus with our current fresh expression of church…it takes time.  And its not over either!

You need to listen to the needs of the community so that you are doing what they need and are looking for rather than what you think is good for them

Resources

We are talking here about both Human and financial…and perhaps physical (space…equipment) resources. Commitment falls into this area as well.  But don’t think this is about just a one off!  If you are going to be able to move forward don’t plan for the one off event.  As you perform your ministry you are constantly needing to create small events, which includes the weekly gatherings of the kids, or even at church or in the schools, which you can use as your listening tools.  That means that a one off event is no good.  So the resources you need to work with must be something that you can do over and over.

Now, you are going to create a Venn Diagram.

venn diagram

A for vision…B for need….C for resources

And where they overlap, that’s what you do.

And you do it over and over and over, not deviating.  Just like waiting for the focused heat of the sun set a fire burning.  Because its consistency which makes a difference.

Now it might not look very big or clever.  Because when you do this it often ends up as something really small.  But by doing so you get ignition 

It gives you a place where you can go back to listening.  it builds relationships.  It communicates the gospel.  It shows love and concern.  It’s incarnational.

And eventually you WILL get a fire.

And I’ve seen it happen over and over.

Or you could just use a very big magnifying glass…. enjoy the video!