Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 9:14)
From our first meeting with Dr. Paul Kayumba in 2021 he stressed to us that children’s ministry was his biggest priority. I remember the first Sunday that we joined Christ Church Lusaka. It was January 2022 and we had come to Zambia to serve with Paul Kayumba at Christ Church Lusaka. At this stage we were still a small group meeting at UNZA (University of Zambia). That morning as we sat on those hard lecture-room benches, they introduced us to the church. To my surprise Pastor Kayumba introduced me as “the one who is coming to start the children’s ministry.”
I had never been tasked with such a great responsibility before and honestly I felt terrified. This was far above my skill-set. Yes of course I had taught Sunday school before. But I taught one age-group and had all the materials given to me that I needed. This was quite another ballgame altogether. Michael had full confidence that I could do it but I wasn’t so sure.
What was I working with? There were about 10 children coming to church ranging between the ages of 2 and 14 and no extra venue to meet outside of church. I felt relief for a moment as it seemed I had found a way out of this challenge. But unfortunately for me my husband was confident that I was capable of figuring out a way to teach these children. Inwardly I wrestled with this because it just seemed so impossible. Michael and I argued back and forth about this but he just said, “I know you will be able to figure out a way”. I believe it was his confidence in me that drove me to my knees asking God for guidance.
During COVID our home church had for some time done children’s church by doing a 5-10 minute slot in the main service while making worksheets available online for parents to download. I realised that we could do the same thing here. There were a few big challenges that I could see. One challenge was finding worksheets or materials that would somehow link with the sermon being preached that day. The second challenge was to accommodate all the age groups at the same time. The biggest challenge was doing all that in 5-10 minutes!
A Working Strategy
We settled on a strategy which has worked well until now. I would focus on one point or aspect of the passage for that week and prepare to teach that in a simpler way in 5-10 minutes. We would then give the children worksheets to complete during the sermon. For those who couldn’t read or write English I would find a colouring sheet relevant to the sermon. For the older children who could read and write we would give a worksheet specially created for them each week. This worksheet would have the Bible passage that is going to be preached and some comprehension questions on that passage. I also later included a crossword puzzle using words in the passage that were a bit more difficult to understand.
This has been a good working strategy for starting the children’s ministry here till now. But our prayer was always that we would one day have a separate venue where we could meet with the children for their own children’s church…