True Discipling and Mentoring of Children

mentor_childBook: Redefining Children's Ministry in the 21st Century
Author: Becky Fischer
Chapter 3: True Discipling & Mentoring of Children

Premise of the Book: We have a crisis in the modern and postmodern church concerning ministry to children. According to George Barna, 70% of the children we have raised in church will leave the church as young adults.

Chapter 3 – True Discipling & Mentoring of Children
Becky Fischer reflects on faith practices of the Shiites that she learned about while on a missions trip to India. She was shocked to find the father of a household demonstrating to their sons how to self brutalize themselves with sharp razors one day a year as an act of penance for the sins of their forefathers. This teaching process would begin at the ripe age of 3-years old. Becky realized that an immersion into their faith at such a young age has created boys who will never be neutral about their faith and will most likely never have a desire to leave their faith.

Becky asserts that the discipling process for our children begins at a young age too. She reflects on Isaiah 28:9-10 which says that little-by-little the teaching process begins from the time a child is weaned from the breast.

She defines discipleship as "doing what Jesus did" not just having another Bible study mid-week. In order for our children to do what Jesus did, she suggests that our classrooms need to be setup in such a way to facilitate active participation in the learning process. She gleans wisdom from two subjects in school that got it right: Home Economics and Shop. She suggests hand-on learning is the best way to disciple children in doing what Jesus did. She promotes the following methodology: 1. I do... you watch. 2. I do... you help. 3. You do... I help. 4. You do... I watch.

Becky is encouraged to see many churches using this methodology in the gift of helps. That is, allowing children to serve in every facet of the Sunday service. However, she encourages us to not limit our imagination to just discipling children how to do church on Sunday. Christianity must be taken outside of the four walls of the church, and skills like puppetry, audio/video, and drama are probably not skills that children (or even adults) will use in everyday ministry. She suggests that training and releasing our children to be evangelists, prayer warriors, intercessors, worshipers, healers, and to know God's voice are life skills that will take them farther and deeper in their relationship with God, as well as, make a greater impact in the people they come across in their everyday life.