Evg. Ajeesh George
Department of Practical Ministry,
India Bible College & Seminary, Kumbanad
“Children! Who can estimate the value of a child? Not gold, houses, or lands, possessions or honors, art, science or fame, but a child! A living, breathing, throbbing thing; a brain to think, a heart to love; a being endowed with marvelous capacities, gifts and responsibilities which may later lead and move multitudes. A child who may become a voice for righteousness, justice and purity, and inspired from above, shall impress cold, selfish men and women, and make them run to follow the Christ as rivers rush to seas”.
Ministry among the children is the integral part of the training program of IBC&S. Because we recognize childrenare the most important part of the family, society and the church. The Bible teaches us that they are amazing gift from God. But in today’s world children experience a life time subjugation, unwanted before birth, deprived of privileges as babies, drudgery in childhood, sexually violated in adolescence, undernourished in adulthood, and outcast in old age.
Children need time, energy, attention, care, protection, provision, affection and love to survive in the world’. Under the title ‘Children’s Ministry’ the church and mission organizations focus to reach out to children and to meet, their spiritual, and physical and material needs. ‘Children Ministry is exciting and challenging. The church has tremendous significant and strategic role to play in the lives of the children. The church has the stewardship for the children. In many churches, children are a neglected group. The negligence is well evidenced in the budget, programs and priorities of the local churches as well as in the denominations.3
IBC&S is engaged in training and building the lives of future leaders of the church. Hence, we want them to focus on the need for ministry among children. The college has been working among children for the past 12 years through the Department of Practical Ministry. When we started their special ministry for the children we had very little response from the people in our church community and only few of our students were interested in this. But constant and consistent emphasis on the need of special attention towards brought rapid response.
This year, the Lord has instilled an interest in 95 of our 265 students. They dedicated for Children’s ministry. In the previous years the number was 20, 25, 30, 45 and went to a maximum of 60 only. We conduct special seminars and training for children’s ministry with practical training in the field during the weekends.
The college focuses to prepare some students from every batch as specialists to work among the children. We encourage of our students to be trained for children ministry. When we gain a child we are gaining a full soul. And children can be the best open doors to a family or to a community.
There is no church, family or society without children. In India two million children die before they turn 5 (five) every year. That’s about 6,000 deaths everyday. Abject poverty, lack of basic health care facilities and poor health of rural women are killing India’s underprivileged, malnourished children.
According to National Human Rights Commission figures, around 45, 000 children go missing every year. So in this context we train our students to step in to these issues to give solution by caring for the children through word and deed. Every pastor will have to deal with children. So it is essential to know how deal with them according to their age level. Our vision is to train those who are ‘called’ of God to reach children , who in turn will reach the family and society – this will extend the kingdom of God on earth.
Our Training Programs
We provide systematic training to those who are dedicated for children’s ministry. We identify those with a burden for the perishing children around us. Each year we do a 1⅟2daysbasic training for all those who are interested for children ministry – introducing the ministry, explaining the need of children ministry and different methods used in this ministry. In the various sessions, different topics like ‘why I’ am here, methodology, child psychology, practical issues, need of disciplined life, methods of teaching songs, stories, memory verses etc. are being taught by the special teachers from Timothy Institute. After this basic training we start our children ministry activities of the year.
However, our weekly training continues each Wednesday, when two hours are devoted specifically to preparing the lesson and class for the Kids Club to be held that weekend. We follow a systematic method of teaching the children at our Kids Clubs.
Until last year we were using lessons and syllabusprepared by others. But a remarkable progress happened as a result ofthe training offered – our students have prepared a syllabus on their own -. The syllabus under a particular topic includes an action song, story, lesson, memory verse, activity, game etc. All of our 95 students were divided into five groups and each group was given 3 topics each. And they prayerfully worked on each of the 15 topics and prepared the lessons.Each Wednesday the team concerned presents their topic and teaches the entire group the lesson, action song, activity for the class that weekend. This happens in English and Malayalam, benefiting both Malayali and non-Malayali students on campus.
Our Children Clubs
Our students have initiated new children’s clubs in this area – this year we have 14 Children’sClubs running each week. and once in a month in a school training programme also. Every club has 15-30 children regularly attending. These clubs are being conductedon Saturdays and Sundays. We conduct clubs in orphanages, churches and in open places etc. For last two years our girls students had been teaching and caring for some mentally and physically challenge children in a place called ‘Asha Bhavan’ which is run by nuns of the Syrian Orthodox Church.
Two to four students form a team and run a club. Each week 35-40 of our students get opportunities to reach out and teach about 250-300 children who are part of these clubs. Towards the close of each academic year we conduct a combined Anniversary Program for all clubs at the college campus. One of our clubs at ‘Kattodu’ has been running non-stop for ten (10) years.
We have benefited much from the guidance of Timothy Institute for this ministry. Couple of our Faculty members Pastors Rajan Asher and. BijuEapenwith their team give leadership to the Timothy Institute – a ministry to children. Three of our former graduates Evangelists. Georgekutty, Samson P Baby and Jobin T. Mathai are the fulltime staff with Timothy Institute. It is a matter of joy and pride for us to have our former graduates come and train our present batch of studentseach week.
We often receive feedback from our former graduates that many of them in different parts of India have started their missions with the children’s ministry. And a few of them are fully involved in the ministry among the children and youth.
In the midst of increasing issues related to children. Let us arise and build a Christ-like generation. Ministry to children should have the focus of forming right worldview and ingraining god honoring values. The responsibility of churches and Bible Colleges is immense – to develop future leaders who will be instrumental to build a Christ like generation.