Some people think it’s old-fashioned, but I still believe in crusades! The main reason why I love them is, by their very nature, they focus on salvation through Jesus. Crusades are like illustrated sermons, only with more games, object lessons and props.
A crusade is a suitable ministry format for both children and adults. Vacation Bible School is a fun summer activity but at some churches I’ve taught, a long expensive program couldn’t be managed. A one night crusade has multiple benefits for use, anytime of the year.
- Parents see the ministry in action. If you’ve ever heard a parent say, “He seems so excited when he comes home. What do you all do in there?” you need a kids’ crusade. Expose parents to the excitement of your ministry and you may even gain souls for the kingdom—and volunteers!
- It’s a guest-friendly event. Children love sharing their church with other children but if the child already attends church somewhere that can be a challenge. No one wants to proselytize. However, a one night kids crusade is the perfect venue for meeting your kids’ friends and families that don’t normally get to attend.
- It’s fast-paced but effective ministry. Here’s how my crusades go, intro (puppets or a kids praise dance), praise with beach balls, worship with low lights and adult flag leaders, brief announcements, main message intro, game, offering, message part two, game, activity song, message part three and the altar service. Each segment, except the message portions are no more than five minutes each.
- You don’t need a huge staff to pull it off. All you need are three volunteers. One to play the music and hand out the worship tools, one to lead the games and one to help with the offering. Involve parents by asking them to help with building props that are needed. Don’t ask them to volunteer the night of the crusade. This ministry is for them too!
- You can use fun, relevant themes. Past crusade successes I’ve experienced were loosely based on popular television shows and movies. Some examples are “Survivor,” “The Crocodile Hunter.” “No Fear Factor” and “Transformed!” We used props relevant to these shows and “saved” some plot lines! It was fantastic fun and we had powerful results.
- Crusades build excitement. If your ministry has been kind of boring and expected lately, a crusade will help build excitement.
- Crusades create new momentum. Build momentum towards a vacation Bible school or special conference with well scheduled crusades. Do one a month or quarter to build kids’ and parents’ expectancy.
- Events give new teachers and volunteers a chance to teach. New teachers like to shine too. I love introducing a new helper or teacher at kids’ crusades. They get to experience what teaching to a crowd is like.
- These events show parents how their kids really behave. I love parents but sometime they have trouble understanding why little Susie didn’t earn a special prize. At kids’ crusades, parents get to attend and experience all children’s behaviors for themselves.
- It’s my favorite teaching style. Some people prefer the Sunday School format, others like a structured classroom. Not me! I love the way kid’s crusades unroll and become a massive, moving ministry. I like exciting the children with “cheer leading” chants for my King and leading them into heartfelt worship in the main sanctuary of our church. I love that just for a day, kids get to pretend to be the adults using the equipment that their adult counterparts use every week. I look around and I see the church, as it should be, excited, simplistic and full of love.
Read more Mimi’s new book, “The Prophet’s Code,” a book for children and teens interested in biblical prophecy.