Church growth experts frequently use children’s ministry as a tool to get people into the church. Children’s ministry is one of those things churches have to do.
I find this ironic in light of the fact that there is nothing in the Bible about churches doing anything for anyone’s kids. Nothing. Zero verses.
I know Jesus with the “least of these” thing, but that’s still a far cry from a verse about children’s ministry. (The “least of these” are called “brothers” by Christ, leading me to believe they are other believers, not kids anyway.)
What you do find is Paul giving Timothy half a chapter on taking care of widows.
Very little is done in an organized fashion to care for Christian widows; much is done to take care of kids.
Why the focus on kids and not old people?
As I’ve heard it many times, “We need to get the kids so we can get the parents.”
In other words, it makes more financial sense to get families. Families also have more people so it increases your attendance with minimal effort. Attract one and you get five.
With widows, if you attract one you get one. Not much payoff.
The church frequently has the exact opposite priorities than the Bible.
I think this is because the church has a different end than the end the Bible gave it. The church does not exist to be impressive in externals–money, attendance, etc. Whereas the church today is largely focused on these things.
There are exceptions, but they are few, which is why they are “exceptions.”
The Bible says the function of the church is to edify believers so the members can do the work of the ministry and be ministers of reconciliation.
Instead, the church gets sucked into marketing, worldly measures of success, and extensions of human power.
It’s my opinion that modern children’s ministry is a manifestation of this thinking. It’s certainly not biblical.
In the end, I wonder what would happen if we put as much resource into old people as we do into young people. I’m not saying serving old people would grow the church either.
What I am saying is that church growth is not a biblical end; loving people is.
Only serving people who serve your ends is not Christianity.