Let me tell you about why I serve in children’s ministry.
Correction: let me tell you about the one really good reason I serve in children’s ministry.
I’ve written on children’s ministry in the past, but I don’t recall if I’ve ever shared my feelings on this point:[1. And my search results come up nil, so I’m guessing I haven’t.]
- I don’t serve in children’s ministry because it’s a stepping stone to something else, because it’s not really.
- I don’t serve there because it’s a ministry that constantly bleeds volunteers, though it does.
- I don’t serve there because it’s one that lacks a positive male influence, though it is.
I serve in children’s ministry because I get to teach kids the Bible and be a part of making disciples. Children’s ministry is not (or shouldn’t be) the church’s babysitting ministry. It’s not telling nice stories where you’re a David or a Daniel. It is intentional evangelism and discipleship. And it is a slow (with a capital S-L-O-W) burn.
Let’s face it: if you’re looking for immediate results, or Charles Finney is your homeboy, you’re probably in the wrong place. You’re likely not going to have a bunch of kids put their faith in Jesus at the end of the lesson every week. And I know, because almost every time I teach, I’m
stuck blessed with texts related to judgment and/or evangelism. Thus, my main application points are usually, “You need to believe in Jesus,” or “You need to tell others about Jesus.”
Nevertheless, when I teach, my goal is to teach clearly and faithfully. I don’t sugarcoat or pretty up anything the Bible says, but I do my best to make it understandable to them. I even have a few kids (like my pal Gabe) who provide feedback on whether or not I hit the “understandable” benchmark.[2. This is SO very helpful.]
I don’t often get a sense of what God is doing in their hearts and minds, because I’m not entirely sure that’s what my role is in what God’s doing. But I do know God’s doing something. Why? Because it’s what he’s promised to do in the Scriptures. Wherever his word goes forward, it will accomplish its purpose. When Jesus tells the parable of the sower, he doesn’t tell us to scatter, but doesn’t promise that we’ll be the ones to reap the harvest.
But sometimes he gives you a glimpse. Not too long ago, one of the girls I teach stopped me in the hall. She handed me a little card she had made. Inside it simply said, “Thank you for teaching God’s Word to us.”
That, friends, is why I serve in children’s ministry.