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  • Writer's pictureMark Hallock

Three Things Pastors Should Know About Every Kid In Their Flock

One of the great joys of being a pastor in the local church is being able to minister to children. Without question, there are few things as humbling and as exciting as coming alongside children as they grow and mature in Christ over many years. To play a role in their spiritual growth and formation from the time they learn to walk, through their elementary and teenage years, leading to that day when they graduate from high school, there is nothing quite like the role a pastor plays in shepherding these young souls. Gift and privilege. That is what it is for a pastor. A gift and a privilege.

But good shepherding always begins with knowing the sheep...and this includes knowing the children under a pastor's care. So, let me offer three things pastors should know about every kid in their flock.

#1. Know their name and basic info. While it may seem very simple, there are few things as powerful as knowing and then using someone else’s name. I can remember as a little kid how much it meant to me when my pastor would call me by name. I couldn’t believe he actually knew who I was! I believe this should be the norm when it comes to the relationship between pastors and children in a congregation. We must know their names, and then USE their names, each time we see them. Of course, this takes work and intentionality, but it is worth it.

Along with knowing the names of the children in our churches, pastors are to know basic information about each child as well. Things like: How old are they and what grade are they in? Where do they live? What school do they go to? How many brothers and sisters do they have? How long has their family lived in this community? This type of basic information helps pastors to not only know children better, but to shepherd them more effectively. #2. Know what they enjoy. One of the ways pastors can build a deeper relationship with the children in their church, is by knowing some of the things that each kid enjoys doing. Whether it is playing sports, or playing an instrument, or drawing pictures, or eating at a particular restaurant, whatever it might be, knowing specific things that children enjoy helps a pastor to better connect with them, and therefore build trust with them over time.

One of the most powerful things you can do as a pastor is to attend sporting events or school activities children in your church are involved with. Of course, the parents of the child will be so grateful that you cared enough to show up and support their son or daughter, but I promise you, the child you are going to support will be blown away! What a cool thing that their pastor would come just to see them! This is a very simple and tangible way to show that you care deeply for kids in your church. Just show up and encourage them like crazy! #3. Know where they are spiritually. As a pastor, you want to do the very best you can to have the spiritual pulse on every individual in your congregation. This includes the children in your church. Part of shepherding children well is knowing, as best you can, with the help of their parents, where a child actually is spiritually: Do they love Jesus? Have they surrendered their life to him? Have they been baptized? Do they struggle with doubt? What things are hindering their spiritual growth at this stage in their life? What types of things do they want to learn more about when it comes to Jesus, God, or the Bible? What do they need from me as their pastor? These are the types of questions that will help a pastor better understand where a child is spiritually. It will also help a pastor more effectively shepherd these children and their families toward greater maturity in Christ.

Practically, this is why I would recommend that pastors regularly teach some kind of Bible study or baptism/basics of the faith class to the children of their church. There is great wisdom in building into the yearly rhythm of a church’s life some kind of learning environment where a pastor can connect with kids to encourage them, teach them, laugh with them, and get a more accurate feel on where each child is spiritually. This type of class or study can look different depending on the size of your congregation and the ages of the kids who are represented.

Whatever it looks like, pastors must find ways to connect with the children under their care. And this should be a joy and delight, never a burden!


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