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Children’s ministry and the mission of the Church

August 15, 2016

How many of you remember the classic children’s book, “The Lorax,” a picture book by Dr. Seuss, first published in 1971? The book has a strong moral story about the care of the environment. The story follows the Lorax, the character who speaks for nature, and the Once-ler, the character who represents greed. Here’s a classic line from the book where the Once-ler reflects on the aftermath of a series of acts related to greed and growing bigger without consideration of the internal and external consequences.

That was long, long ago.
But each day since that day
Ive sat here and worried
and worried away.
Through the years, while my buildings
have fallen apart,
Ive worried about it
with all of my heart.
But now,” says the Once-ler,
Now that youre here,
the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
Its not. (excerpt is taken fromThe Lorax,” Dr. Seuss, Random House, 1971)

As an ongoing part of my doctoral studies, I attended a lecture this week at Boston University. To illustrate the complexities of interdisciplinary research methodologies, we listened to an entire reading of “The Lorax” and discussed the interplay between nature and humanity. The exercise was informative and fun.

After completing the exercise, I immediately thought of the church and the way children’s ministry informs mission and ministry. How might the biblical stories shared from the perspective of children inform the mission and ministry of the church? How might the biblical narrative shared through the eyes and words of children enhance the worship, teaching, and preaching? What can we learn by occasionally allowing the children’s curriculum to speak to the adults in the local church?

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

Denise Walton

Rev. Denise Walton serves as the Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries. Contact her at

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