Children’s ministry can be daunting and requires strong equipment for the challenge. David Brenneman and his wife Tiffany began leading the children’s ministry at their church last year in Stuarts Draft, VA. Their vision is to equip their ministry leaders for effective children’s discipleship that will clearly communicate the depths of the gospel and result in real life change.
AUBREY: Your team has utilized our Online Leader Training Course and has also had the Heroic Life Discipleship Team come to your church to provide a workshop. What did you think of the training?
DAVID: The session that stood out the most and that I heard the most feedback was a classroom management session on redirecting kids with the gospel. It focused on how to always point kids back to Jesus in their time of need. I think that session stood out to our team the most because it’s so anti-cultural. That’s not the message you typically hear today. Some of the best feedback I received on that session was actually by trained elementary school teachers.
The Heroic Life Discipleship training materials are very clear, and very straightforward, which is always helpful. Another thing that was very helpful was some of the illustrations Cristina gave which our teachers can use when they communicate the gospel to kids.
AUBREY: How has the Heroic Life Leader Training impacted your ministry and team?
DAVID: It brought a lot of unity. This is the first time at our church that we’ve had somebody invest in the teachers like this. Usually the teachers have just done different things, all independent of each other. I think the Heroic Life Training brought unity to what we’re doing. Tiffany and I cast a vision, we try to bring unity, but when we brought in the Heroic Life team, it was like–everyone is doing this together. That’s a huge benefit; something that the workshop really brought to us. We all can do this as individual teachers, but as a team we’re in this together, we’re doing this together. That stands out to me as something that has helped strengthen us.
AUBREY: In what ways do you feel like the training equipped your team for ministry?
DAVID: When I went through all the training notes from the Online Leader Training Course, it was very helpful to define the vision and the purpose of each of the Heroic Life Discipleship curriculum elements. That’s one of the things that the training did for us. It showed us that everything in the curriculum is there for a purpose. It’s not just haphazard. It’s strategic and it’s purposeful. Breaking that down and helping my Sunday School teachers understand that was very helpful. Otherwise, people could ask, “Why are we doing this?” If they don’t understand why, then they’re not going to implement it in a specific way as requested. I think the training helps in that area.
AUBREY: Any tips for fellow ministry leaders and teachers?
DAVID: I would highly recommend taking ample time up front to prepare your leaders and to go through training, whether it’s one Heroic Life Discipleship provides or an adjusted version based on your situation. Take the time to go through training, go through a workshop and also walk your teachers through each segment of the curriculum you’re using.
One thing that’s helpful is to sit down with your teachers and walk through the teaching material as if it were a Sunday morning, so when the kids come next Sunday, you know exactly what you’re doing and where you’re going. Then the kids feel safe, they see the structure, there is clear leadership provided. Sitting your teachers down and actually walking through each element, telling the teachers, “Imagine all the kids are here. When they come, we’ll go first to our small groups. Then we’ll go over the memory verse.” And then go do it with the teachers. Then call them all back to sit through the Bible story. That’s what I would highly recommend.
AUBREY: Sort of like role-playing, acting as a team before the children are even there. That sets the scene and prevents chaos when all the kids do come.
DAVID: Exactly. The other thing would be to always encourage teachers and train them that this is not something we take lightly. Don’t just show up and read through the questions. They’re provided for you, but it’s not so you can just show up and do it. It’s to guide the own preparation of your heart before you come. It’s easy just to show up and “do it,” but that’s not why we’re here. In kid’s ministry, it’s very easy to just assume, “Well, they’re just kids.” So we try to fight that mindset. This is the church. The kids are part of the church, the body of Christ. Hold to that truth however you can.
AUBREY: That’s so important to remember. Thanks, David, for all your input. It’s great to hear how God is working in the kid’s ministry at your church.
For resources and training on how to make a greater impact in children’s ministry, take our Online Leader Training Course. You’ll learn to clearly communicate truth and the gospel to children, tell compelling stories that engage your listeners, and lead discussions with children that result in real-life change. You can view a sample video from our Online Leader Training Course HERE.