Category Archives: Relational Ministry

Church Based After School Ministry: Do you do RELATIONAL MINISTRY?

Each new school year provides the opportunity to assess how we did last year and plan how we can do it better this year.



How did you do last year in developing lasting relationships with each individual child that came through your After School Ministry? How could you do better this year?


Below are just a few of the challenges we talk through relating to RELATIONAL MINISTRY in KidTrek After School Ministry Training.

  • The individual who yearns to have a relational ministry must be bilingual; i.e. he needs to have the ability to communicate in the localism of those with whom he desires to convey God’s truth. He must be willing to take the time and spend the energy to get to know those to whom God has sent him to minister.
  • The relational minister will view himself more as a discipler of men than a teacher of knowledge. As a discipler, he will be willing to set aside his agenda when a need is presented.  He is going to listen to what is said, but he will also be reading between the lines.  When Bobby complains day-after-day of being tired, the relational minister is going to ask questions to find out why Bobby is tired.
  • The discipler is going to be sensitive to the environment into which he brings the kids. Is it conducive to building relationships?  Is there a climate of warmth?  Does the kid feel understood?   Does he know you will go the extra mile to reach him?  Is there more focus on the kid than there is on the material being taught?  Is everything well thought out and prepared?CIMG7396
  • There is a willingness to be stretched emotionally. He recognizes the need to grow in patience, compassion, and forgiveness.  The discipler sees each problem that arises as an opportunity for development, his and the kid’s.
  • Because he is called by the Lord, he depends on the Holy Spirit for his strength and believes God will redeem the time so he can accomplish the task that the Lord has set before him. Therefore, the discipler does not view his ministry as being from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., four days a week within the walls of the church.  He recognizes the need to visit the kids in the home, send postcards, make phone calls, etc.
  • The discipler puts the welfare of the kids above his own pride, recognizing that at times he may need to call on the insight of others to meet a particular need of the kid.
  • The discipler continually reminds himself to not fall into the trap of ministering from motivation of making himself feel/look good. It has to be all about the kids’ real needs not the discipler’s wants or needs.
  • The discipler is a friend. As he wishes the kid to trust him, he will trust the kid.  He will pray for the kid and he will ask the kid to pray for him, giving the kid specific prayer requests.
  • The individual called to a relational ministry is a prayer warrior. He acknowledges that apart from Jesus he can do nothing.  However, he believes that with Jesus all things are possible.  He daily brings the kids to the throne of his heavenly Father.

  • The relational kid’s worker does not buy into the victimization of the kids. He knows that with Christ everyone can be a victor.  He is not willing for the kid to dwell in the past but encourages the kid to look forward to what Jesus has for him.
  • The relational discipler has the joy of bonding with kids and watching as the Lord transforms them.


Church Based After School Ministry: Presenting the Gospel to Children

As you begin a  new school year are you prepared to present the gospel to your children?

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Church Based After School: Emotional Needs of Children

   This is the story of a church-raised child – how much more devastating this would be for one of your kids in your after-school ministry.

Nine-year-old Marty loved Bill his Sunday school teacher.  On Sunday mornings, he could hardly wait to get to church to be with Bill.  Bill would call from time to time, and they would chat on the phone, or Bill would send him a postcard just to tell him how special he was.

One Sunday when Marty arrived at church, Bill was very excited.  He told Marty that he had just purchased a new fishing pole and was planning to go fishing the following Saturday.  He invited Marty to go with him, if his parents consented.

Marty was so excited!  After Sunday school, he made a mad dash to find his mom and see if it would be O.K.  Marty’s parents knew Bill well, and they were excited that he wanted to spend a day with their son, so they told Marty that it would be great.  Marty ran back into the room to tell Bill that he would be able to go with him.

Bill was also excited and they made arrangements regarding their day of fishing.

Marty could hardly wait until Saturday morning.  He told all his friends at school about his great Sunday school teacher who was going to take him fishing.

Friday evening rolled around and Marty’s family went out for dinner.  When they returned from dinner, there was a message on the answering machine.  It went something like this.

“Hey buddy, this is Bill.  I really hate to do this to you, but I know you’ll understand.  I was just given tickets to the UCLA – USC football game tomorrow.  I know you were really counting on going fishing but we’ll do it another time, O.K., buddy?  Love ‘ya.  See ‘ya Sunday.”

Marty’s mother told this story.

She had just read a brochure on the emotional needs of children.  After reading the brochure, Marty’s mom said that it was at that time that Marty suddenly changed his attitude about going to church.  She hadn’t made the connection before.

As we prepare to provide the most excellent ministry we can for the children whom God sends to us it is vital that we consider each child’s emotional needs.


Church Based After School Ministry: Teaching Children To Pray

One of the most important tools you can give a child to walk through life is prayer.

When was the last time you took time to teach the children about the importance of prayer.

One of my passions is to teach children to turn their self-talk into an on-going conversation with Jesus. There isn’t a moment in the day that we can’t be talking to Jesus and expecting Him to guide us and direct us.


What do you do with prayer? 

When a problem arises, where is the first place you turn?  In your day in/day out living, how often are you in a conversation with Jesus Christ?  When your life is going good, do you share with Jesus the excitement of what is going on in your life?  What about when life is difficult?

 How will you teach the kids to pray without ceasing if this isn’t your lifestyle?

How will you challenge them to move toward a victorious walk with Jesus if your walk isn’t victorious?

A lesson on prayer

Below is a prayer I’ve prayed for you.


I lift this faithful laborer up to You today.  Let him/her grow in his/her depth of conversation with You.  As s/he comes to You, bless him/her with a sense of Your presence.  Speak to him/her in his/her inner most being.  Oh Lord, I know You long to have a continual conversation with this child of Yours.  Please Lord; teach him/her how to speak with you constantly.  In Jesus name, Amen.


Church Based After School Ministry: What Is/Is Not Relational Ministry?

Relational Ministry isn’t  easy – you must continually set aside what is easy and comfortable in order to minister to REAL NEEDS.

there are so many needs!!!

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this,
that someone lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:12-13 ESV)


Relational Ministry is Deuteronomy 6:4-9 put into intentional practice.

It will never happen unless verse 4 is a desire of your heart.

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your might.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV)

I would love to hear some of your stories of relational ministry meeting REAL NEEDS.

Child Discipleship – Competition, Good or Bad?

By Wanda Parker

The first of three posts on Children and Competition.

I am now blogging on Children’s Ministry atkidtrek: sunday plus. I will continue writing about christian after school ministries here.

Every Tuesday I visit a different KidTrek Associate Center. Yesterday Bible Focus was a competition between two teams.  A volunteer read the Bible story and then asked questions for which the teams had to come up with a consensus answer.

I was amazed as I watched 3rd through 6th graders work together on each team to come up with the correct answer. As I watched, I wondered if they would have been so engaged with listening to the scripture read if there wasn’t a reward being offered.

They were actually competing against themselves because each member on the team received a KidTrek Buck if the team’s answer was correct.  Both teams worked on each question.  There was also the sense of pride when they gave a correct answer.

The Secondary Nurturers were awesome as they interacted with the kids during the game.  I don’t think the kids even realized they were learning.  Yet when one of the Secondary Nurturers would ask his[1] team a non-competitive question such as, “Would you have done what Joseph did?  Why?” I had to fight back the tears as I listened to their responses; it was amazing to hear their depth.

They weren’t just getting the head knowledge – they had an understanding of the concept that God is all loving even though He takes us through difficult painful circumstances.  They could even give personal examples of such.

A second grader at one point said, “Aw Devon, you know the answer; tell us.”

“No, you have to know the answer to get a Buck.  Listen more carefully and you will get the next one” was Devon’s response.

In this interaction, they learned that lack of attention leads to negative consequences; paying attention leads to positive consequences.

When one team answered incorrectly while the other team answered correctly, the “losing” team spontaneously clapped for the winning team and said, “You guys are great.”  The “winning” team thanked the “losing” team.  There were no losers because of the guidance they received from their Secondary Nurturers.

In raising children we must be intentional in everything we do. We must think critically as we establish our philosophy of child rearing.  We must go to the Bible continually to guide us in this process.  Too often what appears to be good today can actually do more harm than good when one looks out into the future.

We must ask ourselves:


No matter where you go in the world, once a child is weaned, there are still decades during which the child depends on adults for subsistence.  What is the reason for this time of childhood?

A child can learn how to use a computer at a fairly young age, but the judgment needed to discern the best use of the computer takes time.  This judgment requires adults who are productive, empathetic and wise to guide the child through real life experiences.  Children may become productive at varying ages dependent on their culture; however the empathy and wisdom needed for total self-sufficiency takes decades.

Children need long-term relationships with adults who are productive, empathetic and wise.

These are the characteristics we want to see replicated in children that they too become self-sufficient adults.

What are some tools that children will need as adults to be productive,empathetic and wise?

They need to learn how to handle:

  • Winning
  • Losing
  • Pain – both physical and emotional
  • Anger
  • Empathy
  • Grief
  • Responsibility
  • Disappointment
  • Decision making
  • Peer pressure
  • Joy
  • Sadness
  • Love
  • Forgiveness
  • Shame
  • Generosity

They will need to have:

  • A work ethic
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Knowledge of biblical truth
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Discernment of justice
  • Restraint.
  • Trust
  • Self-Initiative
  • Industriousness
  • Know Who They Are
  • Love
  • Forgiveness
  • Generosity

Further Posts On Using Competition in the Nurturing of Children.

Temptation To Create a Pseudo World For Kids

The Real World Is Filled With Competition

Competition Provides . . . #1 and #2

Competition Provides . . . #3 and #4

Guiding Children Through A Competitive World . . . #1, #2 and #3

Guiding Children Through A Competitive World  . . . #4 and #5  

[1] For reading ease the male pronoun will be used through out the paper as an inclusive pronoun for both genders.