Posted in: Devotional, Groups, Programming
I stood up on stage explaining communion to a group of 3rd – 5th graders, but even as the words came out of my mouth, I knew they were more for me than for them. “You see guys,” I said. “God loves you. He loves you when you come in first place. He loves you when you come in dead last. He’s loves you when you ace your math test. He loves you when you’re totally flunking out. He loves you on the days when you feel like you have a million friends. He loves you when you feel like you don’t have a friend in the world. He loves you when you do what’s right. He even loves you when you do what’s wrong.”
I was going through one of those weeks when I desperately needed to be reminded of the Father’s love. And there, teaching a bunch of kids, I got it. This is just one of dozens of experiences I’ve had over the years in Children’s Ministry when I’ve received far more than I’ve given.
- When I see a kid’s faith come to life, it reignites my own faith.
- When I see a kid give generously, it spurs me to action.
- When I hear a kid say something really profound, it deepens my understanding.
- When I see a kid going through trials, it expands my compassion.
- When I connect with a tough kid, it melts my heart.
- When I have one of those cute or hilarious kid moments, it fills me with joy.
I have grown in spiritual depth because I serve in Children’s Ministry, grown in ways I never could have experienced outside of this place.
So, it’s started me thinking. What if we have it all backwards? What if it’s not as much about the kids as we thought? What if it’s really about us? Oh, sure, the kids probably have something to do with it too. I’m sure they’re a close second.
But what if God has you in Children’s Ministry for a totally different reason than reaching kids for Jesus?
What if it’s not so much about what God wants to do through you. What if, instead, it’s about what He’s doing in you? What if Children’s Ministry is the laboratory where God wants to work on your heart?
Several years ago, a guy named Gary Thomas wrote a book called “Sacred Marriage” and asked the intriguing question, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” His whole point was how God can use the relationship of marriage to shape your soul and build your character.
What if Children’s Ministry is like that too? Ironically, as God molds our spirit, as we become more like Jesus, we become more useful, reach more kids and influence more lives than we ever possibly could have before.
Here are a few questions to help you take full advantage of how God may use the anvil of Children’s Ministry to forge your character into something holy and pleasing to Him.
- How does this week’s lesson speak to your own life and walk with God? Maybe we’re teaching it this week because you need it more than the kids.
- What’s hard about Children’s Ministry? God loves to use adversity to grow us. James said “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4) Got a tough group of kids? Maybe God wants to teach you patience, or kindness or the ability to deliver the truth in love. Pray for God to use that trial to accomplish His work in you.
- What are the kids teaching you? See how that preschool girl clings to you during group time? Are you that dependent on Jesus? Notice that fifth grade boy who’s too cool school for school? Do you ever hide behind your personality too? What can you learn about childlike faith, about wonder, joy and play from the kids you lead week after week?
Okay, maybe it is about the kids. But I can tell you it’s not just about them, because God will use everything at His disposal – especially the place you serve – to transform you into the amazing creation He made you to be.