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Jim Elliff and Steve Burchett on Children’s Ministry, part three


by Jason Smathers on September 14, 2009

This is part three of a three part interview with Jim Elliff and Steve Burchett. In part one, they explained to us why we should share about God’s love to our children without telling them that God loves them specifically before they repent and believe. Then in part two, the conversation covered how children’s ministry fits in at Christ Fellowship of Kansas City. Today they will cover the materials they recommend for children’s ministry.
Please tell us what materials you suggest for children’s ministry both created by your ministry as well as other materials.
Along with Karen Eppler’s material metioned above, we also would encourage people consider using The Eaglet booklet, The Eaglet DVD, and “The Narrow and Wide Gates” art print. Descriptions and ordering of these products is available on the CCW Online Catalog.
We would also encourage the use of catechisms. A “catechism” is a collection of questions and answers that teach basic theology. Catechisms have been used for centuries by Christian families to teach doctrine to children, and they have been utilized by nearly every strand of church life. The men who wrote catechisms in the past had a better understanding of God than is so often portrayed today. By using catechisms like this one, we will help our children to think seriously, not trivially, about God and the gospel.
One “world-class” book for your use is Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. For years a rendition of this book for children, Dangerous Journey (Zondervan), has been a favorite of ours for the excellent graphics and choice of story portions. Along with this excellent tool, a DVD using the book itself is available. Another edition of the story with slight and reasonable modifications can be found on Audio (Audience One). We’re personally not as fond of The Little Pilgrim’s Progress since it alters a classic work too much. And, of course, when children are older, the actual book as originally written by Bunyan will make a huge contribution to their understanding of the gospel.
Many people have come to Christ through the use of this exceptional allegory. At one time this book had been distributed worldwide more than any other religious book outside of the Bible. It should be a staple for you. In fact, any of us ought to be somewhat ashamed if we have not read it! You will find that children will have no difficulty understanding the old language because the action carries it so well. In fact, it will increase their language skills as a useful by-product. It used to be required that every American boy or girl would read this great book. That tradition needs to be continued at least among evangelicals.
Is there any children’s ministry philosophy you use that we have not discussed that you wish to share with us?
To get an extensive explanation of what we believe about the issue of childhood conversion, we would encourage people to consider purchasing and listening to a CD interview series I (Jim Elliff) did on Family Life Today Radio (hosted by Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine) titled, “How Children Come to Faith in Christ.
If you are interested in hosting a seminar on the issue of childhood conversion, Steve Burchett now teaches that seminar. Send an email to

Jim Elliff and Steve Burchett are both elders at Christ Fellowship of Kansas City. Jim is founder and president of Christian Communicators Worldwide (CCW) and Steve is a seminar leader, writer, and editorial assistant for CCW. Since 2007, Steve has traveled to churches around the country teaching a seminar on childhood conversion. Jim Elliff is the author of the children’s book and DVD, the Eaglet, which I recently reviewed.

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