Can children lead other children and be one of God’s workers in the harvest? Betty in Kampala, Uganda thinks they can. Betty leads the Children’s Ministry at her church involving 1800 children and 91 leaders. Each Saturday she invites any children aged 3 – 12 years to come and help prepare to lead Sunday school the following day. Usually 20 – 30 children attend from as young as 3 years old. But what do the 3 year olds do? “Lead prayers & sing,” says Betty “they are able to do this”. The strategy is proving to be transformational for both children & the weekly ministry.
One Saturday the children simply spent the afternoon washing toys that were used in the children’s ministry. “We had no idea what a sweet opportunity this would present,” said Betty. “The children who came felt important and needed as young leaders and helpers. Suddenly we found them chatting & sharing about personal issues, in a deep way. It was a very special day and we had no idea that washing toys could do that!” said Betty excitedly.
The children help lead the Sunday school session, run games, pray, sing, read the Bible and some have been involved in outreaches to a home for children with HIV, a remand home for juvenile offenders and doing house-to-house visits.
Mentoring and developing of young leaders is key to Betty’s strategy. During a holiday camp earlier in the year Betty wrote “7 passionate teenagers were identified and trained to work with the 10 – 13 years olds during camp. Each of them was placed to lead along an adult leader to mentor them further as they led. One of the teenage leaders who is a talented singer shared deeply with the kids on how she had been consumed by secular music and the dangers she had got into. This was a very emotional session when about 99% of all the kids made commitments to leave secular music.”
- Children connect with other children easily and with the right message, can be powerful in reaching their peers.
- Child leaders are still children so they need mature adult leaders to mentor them.
- Children communicate to adults effectively when they are given an opportunity. Their message is not sugar-coated. And they are very enthusiastic about what they do.