We treat our children like full participants in our communities. They serve, they eat, and they grow in their understanding of the gospel right alongside us. However, it is also beneficial to create intentional spaces for them to learn the gospel and to have freedom to play and enjoy their friends. This is our simple process to care for kids in weekly missional community discussion times. We generally have our younger children share in the eating and the mealtime, but then separate kids and adults for our 45  minutes times of prayer and discussion times.

Give Someone The Responsibility

If your missional community has young kids, you will want to have someone oversee their participation. Specifically, you want to give this servant responsibility to someone who can organize the group to care for kiddos during the weekly discussions. They are the person who reminds your community who is helping with kids and why.

Everyone Participates

We want our communities to share the load of investing in our children’s growth and discipleship. Communities make a calendar and have everyone sign-up for a meeting. We give them simple tracks to run on that make the time significant. Perhaps the most significant impact an adult can have in these times is creates space for relationship and share who they are with the kids.

What To Do With Kids

Here is the simplest and most effective structure for the kid’s time. We’ve seen this greatly impact the full life of communities as adults grow in knowing the gets and in their ability to share life with others beyond children. It’s a great teaching process. Furthermore, it is incredibly easy to maintain and free.

  • Have the adult teach the kids how to do something the they are really good at or interested in (like play music, soccer, paint, cook, jump rope, crochet.). It could be anything as long as it is a genuine sharing of something they are interested in.
  • Then, have the adult share an important part of their story in learning who Jesus is and what he has done for them. You can even encourage them to share something from their childhood.
  • Lastly, the adult will share one of  their favorite Bible verse and explain what it means and how it has impacted their lives. Explaining what this passage tells us about God (who he is, what he has done) and about us (who we are, how we’re transformed by the gospel, and how we are called to follow him).

Cautions:

  • Avoid leaning on the older kids to care for the younger kids. There are safety issues involved for the younger children. For the older kids, they are at an age where they should be processing and learning alongside the adults and shouldn’t be regulated to childcare.
  • Keep the doors open to the children’s spaces and have multiple adults helping.
  • Background check all people helping with kids.
  • Avoid the temptation to let Netflix watch your community’s kids.
Brad A. Watson serves as a pastor of Bread&Wine Communities in Portland, Oregon where he develops, coaches, and trains leaders to form communities that love God and serve the city. Brad is passionate about helping people live lives that reflect their belief and hope in Jesus. He lives in southeast Portland with his wife and their three kids.