Last week, I traveled to Indonesia to be part of the IndoFest Children's Ministry Conference. Over a 1,000 children's ministry leaders from across Indonesia, Singapore and several other countries gathered to be equipped to reach the next generation. The conference was hosted by Gereja Bethel Church in the capital city of Jakarta. I was able to stay over and be part of their weekend services as well.
They have an amazing children's ministry. I was inspired and challenged. Here is an inside look at their ministry. There is much we can learn from their children's ministry.
The entire children's ministry is run by volunteers. Yes, you read that correctly. A church of over 12,000 people a weekend, that reaches thousands of kids, has a children's ministry that is run entirely by volunteers. No "paid staff." They are doing an amazing job of empowering volunteers and raising up people to be leaders of leaders. Many churches struggle with empowering volunteers to lead other volunteers, by creating layers of leadership. This ministry has done this so well. In fact, the entire children's ministry conference was organized and ran by volunteer leaders. Here's a picture of some of them.
Volunteers have a high level of commitment. Volunteers come and spend an hour in prayer before they serve. Many of the high level volunteers have their own businesses which gives them the flexibility to volunteer major hours in the ministry.
Prayer. Prayer. Prayer. As I mentioned above, volunteers spend time in prayer each week. And so do the kids. I had the joy of spending some time in a prayer room for kids. A group of kids gather and spend over an hour in prayer and worship each week. They had a map of their country laid out on the floor and spent time praying that people would come to Christ and that God would bless the ministry. Here is a picture of some of the kids praying.
Reaching people for Christ. You think your part of the world is hard to penetrate with the Gospel? They are in a country that is 96% Muslim. I took the picture below in a store not far from where the church meets. But they are seeing hundreds, even thousands, of people come to Jesus. The Gospel will work, if we do the work of sharing it with those far from God.
Security matters. When you live in a country that is 96% Muslim, you have to take security very seriously. There were armed guards at the entrance with guns. Everyone goes through a metal detector as they entire the church. It was a great reminder of how important it is to make the safety of the kids and families that God has entrusted us with a top priority.
Special Needs Ministry. The church has a great special needs ministry. It was a joy meeting the kids in this ministry. They have a great group of volunteers that serve in this ministry.
Students. I had the privilege of speaking in their student ministry services. Hundreds of students are on fire for God.
Puppets. The church has an amazing puppet ministry. They use black light puppets to creatively teach God's Word. Here's a short video of one of the performances I saw while there.
Multi-site. The church and its children's ministry has campuses (they call them branches) across the city. With over 10 million people living there, this is an essential part of their strategy to reach their city.
Portable. The church meets on the 9th-10th floors of a large convention center. They set up and tear down each weekend. They have purchased land and are in the process of building their own permanent facility with a 8,000 seat auditorium.
If you are ever in Indonesia, stop by this great children's ministry in the capital city of Jakarta. You will be blessed and inspired. Here are a few more pictures from my visit.