You’re Not Just a Babysitter – I Promise!

Sometimes volunteering in children’s ministry can feel like you’re just babysitting. You’re feeding babies and changing diapers. You’re serving snacks, taking toddlers to the bathroom, washing hands, smoothing over fights and hurt feelings. You’re dealing with behavior issues and bored kids.

Let me encourage you. Children’s ministry is so much more than babysitting.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

What is a disciple?

discipleA disciple is one who follows the teachings of another. So in this case a disciple is one who follows Jesus; one who has trusted Jesus for salvation; who has made Jesus their Lord and Savior.

So, first Jesus says to go. He says make disciples of all nations. For those of us in children’s ministry, we need to start where we are. There are children in our church and in our community who need to hear of the love of God and the gift of salvation that is offered to them.

And then, teach them to obey everything Jesus has commanded them. We continue to love and support these disciples as we teach them; encouraging them to grow in their relationship with Jesus.

Children’s ministry is a disciple-making ministry.

Think about the programs & ministries offered at your church. Think of them in light of making disciples. Those outreach ministries where you build relationships with the kids in the community – those are going & making disciples ministries. Those evangelistic ministries, like VBS, those are going & making disciples ministries. Mid-week clubs, Sunday School – those are teaching them ministries; making disciples and helping them to grow.

Children’s ministry is about making disciples.

The kids in your care are people that God loves and Jesus died for. You have the opportunity to share God’s love with them, share the good news of the gospel with them, make disciples, and continue to teach them all the things Jesus said.

So, be encouraged. You are part of an important ministry, obeying Jesus’ command to go and make disciples.

One way to find encouragement is to watch for those moments where your kids are growing in their understanding and their faith. Be encouraged yourself when you find those moments and share them with other children’s ministry volunteers. They are encouraging reminders that we are making disciples.

Here are some examples of what I mean:

Once I was teaching a class of preschoolers and I noticed a boy was intently working with play dough. I asked him, “What are you making?” He said, “I’m going to make God.” “What does He look like?” I asked. “We He has 3 ears and lots of mouths.” “Why does He have 3 ears?” “So He can hear everyone.” “Why does He have lots of mouths?” “So He can talk to everyone.” What a glimpse into that 4 yr. olds understanding of who God is. God is One who hears us and speaks to us. Wow!

During a preschool class – the story had been about David’s sin and his repentance before God. The teacher asked the question, “Why does David sin?” A student’s hand goes up, “Because he didn’t have a perfect heart like God does.”

Watch for moments like these when you are volunteering with children. Be encouraged that God is at work in the lives of the kids you serve. And then share those moments with other children’s ministry volunteers in your church.

Children’s ministry is so much more than babysitting. We are privileged to be involved in disciple-making ministry. And we are never alone! Jesus promised to be with us even to the very end.

Give Thanks Whatever Your Circumstances

For those of us in Canada this is Thanksgiving weekend. We hang out with friends and family. We eat copious amounts of turkey, ham, and pumpkin pie. And hopefully, we remember to give thanks.

childrens ministry give thanks fallI am thankful for fall. I love this season! I love the smell, the changing leaves, the crisp air, the crunch of fallen leaves under my feet. I love the colors of fall and the tastes of fall. I love pumpkin pie and cinnamon and nutmeg and squash.

I am thankful for my husband. He is smart and funny and totally supportive.

I am thankful for salvation offered through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. I am thankful that I am a child of God.

Remember to give thanks this season, no matter what your circumstances.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.                                         1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Having Trouble? Take Heart!

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

I love that phrase – take heart! It’s evocative.

I immediately thought of that movie “Beauty & the Beast.” Near the end of the movie, Gaston is gathering a mob to storm the castle and he says, “Screw your courage to the sticking place.”

Take heart! Screw your courage to the sticking place.

Take heart is not a phrase we use very often. It means be encouraged, gain courage, be confident.

Jesus is speaking to His disciples. He reminds them that in Him they can have peace. Jesus is also totally honest with them. He tells them that in this world they will have trouble.

We all understand trouble. We all struggle with relationships, finances, job issues. Yesterday a friend of mine had brain surgery to remove a tumor.

In this world you will have trouble. But Jesus wasn’t done yet. But… I love that phrase! Take heart! I have overcome the world, Jesus says.

Take heart! Jesus spoke truth and then He gave hope.

We can be brave; we can gain courage; we can be confident because this world in which we have trouble has been overcome.
Jesus is the conqueror. He has defeated sin and death. Jesus has overcome!

So, today, in the midst of your trouble, screw your courage to the sticking place. Jesus never changes. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Jesus has overcome the world!

You’re Not Alone – Children’s Ministry is a Team Effort

Confession Time – I love Nascar! My husband and I look forward to the Sunday afternoon race. When I first started watching Nascar I was focused totally on the drivers. They were the ones in the car driving skillfully, or not; getting caught up in accidents or causing accidents. One man does the work and wins the race. Successes are celebrated by one person and failures are carried by one person.

But I realized pretty quickly that Nascar is not a one-man sport. It is a team effort. Actually, it is a huge team effort. For example, the pit crew trains for 14 seconds of work in which everybody needs to do their job fast, accurately, and still keep their eye out for a teammate who needs a hand. It’s impressive.

childrens ministry teamChildren’s Ministry is a team effort. Sometimes leaders can start to feel like they are all alone; that they are doing the work with little thanks or maybe that there isn’t anyone else who understands or carries the same burden for the children in their church.

But effective children’s ministry happens when a team of people are working towards a single goal, have a passion for making disciples, and understand that each part of the team is important.

An effective children’s ministry team is one in which each member of the team knows their role on the team and works together as a team

So, remember that you are not alone! Value your team, build your team, praise your team, train your team, and let each member have their moment (give credit where credit is due.)

For by the grace given me, I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.  Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:3-5

God is my Fortress, I Will Never Be Shaken

I loved making forts when I was a kid. My brothers and I would make them in the basement, in the living room, and out of lego. We had a cool tree house in the backyard that often became a fort. The best though was the fort at the top of Bruno’s Hill.

Bruno’s Hill was probably not that big of a hill, but when you’re 9 it seems enormous. We would play for hours on Bruno’s Hill. There were trees and huge rocks. There was an old fort somebody had made years ago. It was falling apart and rotting, but it was a fort.

When we were playing games up on Bruno’s Hill, that fort became the safe place. When we needed a time out or a place to hide, the fort was it. That fort was our place to rest.

A place to rest – doesn’t that sound perfect? Children’s Ministry is not usually described as a restful ministry. It’s loud and crazy and fun and exhausting and stressful.

Volunteers in children’s ministry deal with kids and the problems they face. Children’s ministry volunteers also support and encourage other volunteers through the challenges in their ministry and the stuff that comes with life.

If you are a volunteer in children’s ministry, you need to find a place to rest.

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2

True rest is found in God alone. He is our place of rest. He is the One who saves us. He is our Rock. God is our fortress.

Run to God for safety, for a place to rest. God is your fortress, you will never be shaken.

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2

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