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Childlike vs. Childish

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Author/Source: Karl Bastian

Topic: Becoming a Relational Leader to Kids without Losin

The Apostle Paul said when he became a man he put away childish things, but then Jesus said we are to come to Him as children. How do we connect with children, relationally, while maintaining the respect of adults? Pastor Karl - a self-identified "big kid" explains how to keep that tricky balance.

Childlike or Childish?
Becoming a Relational Leader to Kids without Losing The Respect of Adults

Children’s Ministry is Cross-Cultural Ministry

Kids live in a different world than adults. To reach them most effectively, we need to approach ministry to them much like an overseas missionary does, by living among them, learning their culture, and discovering common interests that build a bridge to sharing the Good News about Jesus. The Apostle Paul understood this well, writing in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 that his strategy was to become “all things to all men so that they might be reached.” Even Jesus, the Master Teacher, implored that adults needed to come to Him as children. We must model Christ to them while making Christ relevant in their lives. This requires us to become childlike in many ways in order to reach kids.

However, there is an inherent danger of taking childlikeness too far and becoming childish. Being perceived as “one of the kids” can be powerful for reaching kids while undermining our effectiveness to parents, volunteers, and even our senior leadership. How do you find the balance between connecting with kids and remaining a respected leader among adults? Leading a relational ministry has been a life-long passion of mine for decades. Let me share just a few of the secrets I have learned along the way as I’ve pursued a relational ministry approach with children.

Let’s first look at what it means to be childlike and why it is so effective in reaching and teaching kids, and then look at some tips for making sure in the process we don’t alienate the adults we work with and for.

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