Let me be clear: The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not need a circus of pizazz to penetrate the heart of a child (or anyone for that matter). The love and grace of Jesus stands fine on its own to regenerate the hearts of children.
But it sure does help to present the message of God’s love and grace in a package that kids can understand. How do kids receive information? Mostly by creative means, such as interaction, exploration, participation, humor, movement, and other artistic things that stimulate learning. Even Jesus used parables (basic storytelling) to convey his messages of truth.
How many times have you seen or heard about a Children’s Church experience where kids sat in cold metal folding chairs and listened to an out-of-touch Sunday School teacher lecture them about sin, the end times, and the abomination that causes desolation? If you have, I’ll bet it was not a very fruitful ministry.
Making Children’s Church fun and exciting is a means to an end. The goal is to teach the truth of God’s Word and to make space for worship and life change. If juggling, illusions, puppets, balloon twisting, and interactive games will engage the children in a way that will stimulate their learning and help them understand truth and respond to it, then we must continue to do those things!
The problem is if the means become the end goal. If the circus show becomes a distraction from the Gospel, then we have defeated the purpose of using the circus. My friend Roger Fields says that we need to “build a bridge” and “turn on the light.” A good Children’s Ministry does both. Just don’t build the bridge so big that it blocks the light. The light is the main thing. So let’s build useful bridges to help kids see the light of Christ.