Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Children's Ministry

I’m reading a book. Nothing shocking there, I read books all the time. Here’s what surprised me, what I got from this book has nothing to do with why I read the book.

God is definitely trying to tell me something. He has shown me, once again, that He is with me and has plans for me. I’ve known my whole life that I wanted to work in children’s ministry, seriously my whole life…….even when I was just a little girl myself. He has poked and prodded me throughout my life, but lately He’s been SHOVING me. Even when I doubt it, even when I don’t feel like it; He’s there showing me that this is what I should do.

When growing up (and still to this day actually), my parents did not attend church. My grandmother took me to Sunday school EVERY Sunday. That is where I learned about the Lord, that is where I learned about love. Sunday school was the foundation for the rest of my life. Sunday school is how I became saved. This is one of the reasons why the children’s ministry is so important to me today. I know, first hand, the importance of children’s ministry.

We so often (and rightly so) focus on the importance of the foundation elementary school builds for the rest of our children's lives (reading writing, arithmetic), but focus on the foundation for our children's ETERNAL lives doesn't always get the same focus. Shouldn't it be just as important?

I’ve been teaching Sunday school for a couple of years now. I LOVE it. About six months ago, I was asked to help organize the children’s ministry. WOO HOO! I went in eagerly! I was thrilled to help! I can Shepherd, teach, schedule classes, teachers, etc., no problem.

Fast forward a couple of months. I’m deflated. Turns out, not everyone is as excited about teaching Sunday school as I am. I was shocked to hear all of the complaining and how hard it is to find people who are willing to volunteer to teach. I often felt like it would be easier to just ask everyone to pull out their own front teeth and hand them to me. That would be better received. Then there are the people who are willing to teach, if ever single condition of theirs is met. Ummm….friends, I think you’re missing the point. I can’t imagine Jesus, while ministering to His followers saying, “Yeah, I’ll teach you about my Father today, but you better make sure that the lesson is written out for me and all my supplies are provided.”

I felt defeated, I felt STRESSED. I would walk in to church Sunday mornings worried if I would have enough teachers for these precious children. A lot of times, someone just doesn't show up and I’m left scrambling. I’m exhausted by the time I leave church. But, just when I was about to throw my hands up, God showed me that I shouldn’t.

I came to church one Sunday seriously thinking about quitting the children’s ministry, feeling like I wasn’t really making a difference and maybe someone else would do a better job. I sit down and the sermon begins. Know what it was about? Missions. Children’s ministry is my mission! Hey, God’s trying to tell me something here! I leave church remembering that the best missions are not easy. I leave remembering how God has never quit on me, so I shouldn’t quit on Him. Think about Hebrews 12:1Therefore, Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” I know that children’s ministry is the race God has marked out for me. I was letting others hinder that. Satan will work to obstruct any of God’s plans and it was made obvious to me during that sermon that this is exactly what was happening. I decided not to let others dampen my spirits when it came to children’s ministry. I decided that no matter what, I will not quit. I will joyfully serve the Lord and know that He is using me to help these children and to make a difference in the rest of their lives.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we do have some great children’s programs at our church. We have many people who are very dedicated and work hard for our children and without their help, I just couldn’t do it. But, as a whole, I worry that our children are not the focus they should be. Not just in my church, but everywhere. So, I’m working to change that.

Oh, back to what I was writing this post about....the book! Another way God has told me to keep at it. Last night, I was thinking about children’s ministry while reading the book, “Heaven is for Real.” The book is written by a Pastor and while reading it, this popped out:

“Statistics show most people who profess faith in Christ do so at a young age.”

And right after it, came this:

“Over the years, I’d had to fight to get people to sign up to teach Sunday school. They would give me the verbal stiff-arm, saying, “I did my turn last year,” or “I’m too old for that.”

And it goes further,

“…..I lovingly reminded people that Jesus clearly viewed children as precious-and that if He loved kids enough to say that adults should be more like them, we should spend more time loving them too.”


Finally, I can see that I’m not alone! Other churches have this problem too! I thanked God immediately for showing me, once again, that He is with me and I’m not the only cookie in the cookie jar.

And, isn’t he right? I mean, Jesus does tell us that we need to be like little children in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus tells us Himself how important children are, yet they so often seem to be at the bottom of the priority list.

There are other examples I could list of how God has been showing me to stick with it when it comes to the Children’s Ministry, but in the interest of time, you’ll have to take my word for it.

What are you doing to help the children at your church? What are you doing to help minister to youth beyond your church? Make the time, it will be worth it!

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