What is all the fuss about?
Too often Discipline in your children’s ministry is not a subject that is spoken about, in some children’s ministries the focus is often on “no rules”, it should be a loving environment, where children can just come and be children.
Your children’s ministry classroom should not be anything like school where rules have to be obeyed.
What does God think about discipline?
Read the book of proverbs, there is one chapter for each day (31). Proverbs shows us a glimpse of Gods instructions. His warning to us on how to behave, and his leading of us in every situation. some of it can be very stern, however it is because he loves us. Proverbs 13:1 says A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
Proverbs 3:12 The Lord corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.
Discipline comes from breaking the rules, rebelling against what is right, leads to discipline and correcting, if done in the right way, it can save someone from making wrong choices in life.
Children like adults are supposed to learn from their mistakes. We correct or discipline our children because we love them. God does the same with us. Not to chastise us or condemn us, but to bring out the best in us.
What should we be teaching the kids in our care?
Humility, honour for others, forgiveness, love towards others, is the result for us being corrected by God. We soon get to the point in our own lives, where if we have to examine ourselves and our motives.
When we move from being self important, self gratified, and having our own selfish ambitions met, we realise how selfish we are. Once we come to that realisation that we need God to change our heart. To create a clean heart within us. We can then tap into the heart of God and realise it’s not about us, but about reaching out to others in need.
We are all born sinners, we are absorbed with self motives, Ever watched a baby or toddler snatching a toy away from another child because of jealousy or slapping another child because they don’t get their own way. Parents shocked at their child’s behaviour, saying where did they get this from, I never taught them this behaviour.
When in a room of children, you can easily pick up the children that have been disciplined in life.
Discipline in your children’s ministry is vital, however discipline done in the wrong way can break a person.
Discipline can also build good sound morals into that person. Sometimes we have to be broken (of our selfishness) in order to be built back up in the righteousness of God. Like all things, because child abuse is such a sensitive subject and parents don’t know the balance between discipline and abuse. Abuse has become the norm. Because of financial constraints on families, parents pimp out their children to keep food on the table. The most horrific things can be heard all around the globe, but those that have had loving families and have had parents that have disciplines them, know from experience that their discipline very well saved their soul.
The good qualities will be produced from discipline will always out way the painful rebuke of the parents at the time.
This article is not about a parents rebuke, but about the importance of being disciplined.
When you walk into any ministry, you can automatically pick up if there are rules in the class, and if there are not, where children run rampant and become uncontrollable.
So what is the solution?
Yes, you do have to have a fun environment for them to learn, but the most important is to create a fun, loving environment but WITH BOUNDARIES. children must know the boundaries (rules) of the class. What behaviours will be tolerated and what will not. The children must know that it is not okay to disrespect their teacher, other workers or other children. Their behaviour will not be tolerated. If you need to call a parent back into the classroom because of their child’s behaviour, then so be it.
Should you have a child, that just will rebel against everything you say, and will disobey all the rules, then you need to call the parents in. Remember if you let this child carry on with his bad behaviour, it will start to rub off on to the other kids.
Just like a rotten apple in a bowl of fruit, it will eventually cause all the fruit to rot quicker.
The children will see that nothing happens to the naughty child,then you will find other children starting to push the boundaries, leaving the teacher, disillusioned.
However hard it might be to take charge of your classroom, could be the dividing factor if you have success or not.
We have seen such a difference in children, when the rules have been laid, the boundaries have been set. The children know what is expected of them (also the consequences for bad behaviour) and once everyone obeys the rules, A pleasant, fun exciting environment is set and everyone can grow in God and learn each week.
Always remember that any discipline done in love, will bring the best result. If one particular child has to be removed from your class for bad behaviour, then that is what has to happen in order to save the rest.
Always try your best to resolve the situation and reconcile the child back to your class, but if the parent or child will not listen or adhere to the rules, then its best to release them.
We as children’s ministry teachers cannot touch or smack a child for bad behaviour, but we can instil rules into the classroom and expect the children to obey them. The problem is knowing balance. Yes your children’s ministry must always be a place of safety and refuge for everyone that enters, but be careful, children know how to push the boundaries, and there will always be a smart Alec that tests you as a teacher.
We have the “OBEY” rules in our classroom.
O stands for “Only get up when you have permission” – no children walking around randomly.
B stands for “Be a good listener and don’t interrupt” – when I am talking you cannot be talking to your friend, you cannot hear when your mouth is moving.
E stands for “Everyone must be quiet when the whistle blows”
Y is the most important rule “You must have FUN”
Children must know that there are rewards to those that obey the rules.
God rewards those that listen and obey his commands. Children must also learn that when they obey the rules of the class, we can all have fun.
There must be consequences for bad behaviour. Like the seat in the corner of the room, that when someone miss-behaves, they will sit alone in the corner for 1 minute. They must acknowledge what they have done wrong and must apologise. Teachers must then show love and forgiveness. (so much more can be said on this subject, but for the purpose of this article getting off the point).
The point is rules are NOT there to be broken, but to be adhered to. (This pleases God)
Discipline in your classroom cannot be more stressed upon. It is Necessary to maintain order instead of chaos. You as a teacher sets the pace and environment in your class. If you have different teams of workers on different weeks, the same discipline/boundaries needs to be followed by all teams in order to get control. If you find that different teams have different rules and discipline, you will find the kids only wanting to come into church when certain teachers / teams are on duty.
Hope this article has been informative – All the best for the year ahead, and may God guide and lead you as you teach his children the word of God.