Why does the children’ s ministry exist?
(a) To babysit so parents can be ministered to? (Absolutely not!)
(b) To help children get their annual supply of cookies and kool-aid? (No, not never!)
(c) To help new volunteers understand why some animals eat their young? (Of course not, although…)
(d) To reach and teach children and families with the Good News of Jesus Christ. (This is, has been, and always will be our purpose. Everything we do is measured against this aim.)
A young couple had just taken home their firstborn child. The dad, named Jeff, had taken a few days off work to help around the house. One afternoon the wife walked by the nursery and saw him standing over the crib. There was a huge smile on his face. The window was open and a gentle breeze was blowing in. It was a picture-perfect sight. Quietly she walked over and put her arm around him.
“What are you thinking,” she asked.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s a miracle. It a wonder that anyone can build a crib like this for $49.95.” 1
In this story (which is true) the dad was so caught up in the package that he was missing the true miracle inside. Sometimes we too get so caught up in the “package” of life or ministry that we overlook what really matters.
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lord’ s word, seated at His feet. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving along? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
The priority of a children’s ministry volunteer is first and foremost to walk with Jesus daily. What you lead, and do, and teach in ministry comes as an overflow of your own relationship with Christ. On a scale of 1 to 10, how closely are you walking with Jesus? Do you have a daily time set aside just for Him? What is the most important thing in your life? And be careful not to get so caught up in the “package” of life, that you forget about the one thing that really matters in life—which is you and Jesus.
Also, be sure to remember that the most important thing in your classroom this week is not your preparation, not your teaching plans—the most important thing in your classroom is that child standing in front of you. Don’t get so caught up in the “package” of ministry that you forget what really matters—which is Jesus and your students.
As a children’s ministry leader God has not called you to cover lessons, but to connect the truth of the Gospel with kids.
1Craig Jutilla in a message “Making a Difference,” 2002.