The work of NDI is best carried out through age-groups—children, youth, and adult—with a council responsible to organize and administer the work of each. The duties of the age-group discipleship coordinators are outlined in Nazarene Manual, par. 155 – 159.1.
Also, see ARTICLE V. LOCAL NDI BOARD in the new NDI Bylawss and the Nazarene Manual.
Children’s Discipleship Ministries
Children’s Discipleship Ministries within the local church is responsible to carry out the Great Commission to and with children. Also, see the Local Children’s Discipleship Ministries document.
Children’s Discipleship Ministries within the local church is responsible to carry out the Great Commission to and with children. NDI’s mission must be adjusted according to age and abilities. This mission is effectively expressed through the core principles:
- Fervent Prayer
To promote intentional and consistent prayer in order to nurture and develop relationships with both God and others
- Compassionate Outreach
To reach both churched and unchurched children
- Comprehensive Biblical Learning
To engage children in individual and group biblical study at age-appropriate levels so they become more like Christ
- Intentional Mentoring and Equipping
To help children to grow and to help others grow as Jesus did
- Authentic Relationships
To engage children in relationships that honor God and edify the Body of Christ.
To accomplish this mission, local Children’s Discipleship Ministries should create a unified strategy that includes both churched and unchurched children until they successfully graduate into the next level of discipleship ministry.
To coordinate all work with children, Children’s Discipleship Ministries believes it is essential to group children according to age and abilities; this can be done in a variety of ways, depending on church size, volunteers, etc.
The important element for Children’s Discipleship Ministries is to be inclusive and dynamic for all ages in whatever group setting you are in. It may be worth considering matching the school system and their age breakdown as that is already familiar to both the students and their guardians. Be sure to take special needs children into consideration and work with guardians to help achieve safety, success, and growth.
Success can be measured in a myriad of ways, and cooperation between church leaders, laity, and guardians is essential in the growth of children’s spirituality. The church both teaches children in programs and/or Sunday school and supports guardians as they disciple their children.
The Spiritual Needs of Children
The spiritual needs of children fall into four broad areas.
- Bible Learning. Children need to know what the Bible says and what it means. But knowledge alone is not enough. Children must also know how to relate Bible facts, verses, and truths to their own lives, so they can live God-honoring lives.
- Outreach and discipleship. Understanding that childhood is a very formative time, outreach is crucial to develop followers of Christ. Sunday school and discipleship leaders can use a variety of ways to help children understand what Christ did for them and to help them appropriate His grace. See “So You Want to Follow Jesus” https://www.thefoundrypublishing.com/soyou-want-to-follow-jesus-cd-3206.html and the leader’s guide https://www.thefoundrypublishing.com/pub/media/media_import/content/2375/2375080.pdf. High priority is given to discipling children, helping them become disciple makers and guiding them into a lifetime of Christian holiness. See “So Who Is a Disciple Maker” https://www.thefoundrypublishing.com/sowho-is-a-disciple-maker-cd-3207.html and, the leader’s guide https://www.thefoundrypublishing.com/pub/media/media_import/content/2392/2392124.pdf
- Worship. Worship is a person’s response to God’s revelation. Through worship experiences, children learn about God’s greatness. They also learn how to honor God through worship and through right living.
- Fellowship. Christian fellowship is especially important for children. Opportunities to fellowship with Christian peers, teens, and adults can help children respond early to Christ and live for Him faithfully.
The church can provide a comprehensive and dynamic ministry to children by meeting their physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs. Children’s Discipleship Ministries provides a framework for meeting the foundational needs of children through coordinated programs, such as Sunday school, weekday, annual, and special ministries for children from birth to entrance to youth group.