In the areas of ministry, Jr. Church has become a primary function of the modern church. As such, however, it is typically not treated as a primary area of ministry. In this series of lessons we will look at different methods and techniques to help a small or medium church build a solid Jr. Church.
The history and purpose of the Jr. Church
In times past there was not much of a need for a Jr. Church. Families came to church together, worshiped together and fellowshipped together. In the late 60’s however, churches began to see a great falling away where families stopped coming to church.
In the process of building the mega churches in the 70’s there arose a drive to have a separate church service to reach inner city kids of whom the regular method of visitation and outreach was missing. Single parenthood was also on the rise with a desire to have the kids pacified in a safe space so that the single parent could work or rest.
Jr. Churches have and are being used today as a way to reach kids for Christ, as an organized baby sitting service, a preparatory for the sanctuary and a method of entertainment of children. Over the years there has a formalization of the outreach. Bus conferences, held by mega churches bragging on the numbers of the thousands of kids that came to church are packaging their methods for churches looking for ministry outlet. I must say that, in my opinion, loosing focus on what the Jr. Church should be used for.
It’s not about the numbers
Trying to measure Jr. Church by the number of kids that come is simple vanity. The only 3 numbers that should matter is how many kids get saved, how many grow spiritually and how many are prepared to enter into the sanctuary service.
To look properly at what a Jr. Church should be, we need to first identify what it is not. It is not a baby sitting service. So many “old school” pastors I have met through the years look at Jr. Church as an “inconvenient necessity” as a place to send the kids so they don’t interfere or disturb the sanctuary. As such they do not invest the resources necessary to property utilize the potential that Jr. Church has.
Jr. Church is an opportunity to see children saved for Christ and disciple to prepare children for a sanctuary service. As this everything that is done should be done in a way that will honor the Lord, containing all the major elements of the sanctuary service; but geared toward their age. As such there is an element of responsibility to make sure that the fundamentals of the faith are established; so that when the child enters the sanctuary service, they are ready.