Kids ministry has been a strange and surprising world for me.
I’m not a parent yet and most of my ministry experience prior to moving to Arkansas only dips down in age as far as a junior high student and they’re a whooooole different blog post.
So when I arrived at Kids Camp last year with 75 kids and 8 of them forgot toothbrushes, I was shocked. When those same 8 kids needed a nightlight to sleep, I laughed because I thought they were joking. They weren’t. 4 of them cried. I’m awesome.
Those same 8 kids never brushed their teeth with the toothbrushes I bought for them from Wal-Mart at 1 AM and instead gorged themselves on hidden bags of Sour Skittles all night. When I found these Skittles hidden in bunk beds that smelled suspiciously like pee I began to wonder if God got my ministry coordinates mixed up.
However, with all the headaches that come with kids ministry, nothing replaces the joy that comes from when the gospel *CLICKS* in a kid’s heart for the very first time. Nothing beats seeing them worship with all their hearts because they’re too young to care too much about who might be watching like adults foolishly do. Seeing kids serve others with radical compassion and hearing them sing praises to God gives me chills. I can’t believe I get paid to do this stuff. Incredible.
I had to learn to love kids ministry at first. But every time I was tempted to shy away from it or question God’s calling on my life for this season, I remembered these words from Jesus,
“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” – Mark 10:15, ESV
Jesus says that child-like faith is a MUST for all Christians. We can LEARN a lot about what it means to follow Jesus by watching kids worship uninhibited by a fear of rejection or by seeing them serve others without the desire for recognition or advanced status.
Confession time: When I’m not head over heels in love with all of the kids God has entrusted to me, it’s because I forget that children are children who at times can act…childish. Imagine that.
When a 4th grade boy picks his nose and wipes his booger on his neighbor’s sleeping face…all in the middle of my kids sermon I was thoroughly convinced would forever change their lives…I find myself remembering something else the Bible says about children…
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11, ESV
You see, what I hate about kids ministry really has nothing at all to do with kids. It’s all about me.
Because when they act childish, I’m reminded of the ways I still do as well. And I hear God using these awesome boys and girls to call me to a deeper life of faith, one that sets aside the childish things that are completely appropriate for them to be enamored with….because they’re kids. Like Skittles. And boogers.
(Lazarus made a guest appearance at MidWeek)
You see, what I love about kids ministry ultimately doesn’t have much to do with kids either. It’s all about Jesus.
Because when they worship and laugh and serve and play, I’m reminded of the joy that always comes with following Jesus that I don’t always cultivate in my own faith life. And I hear God using these awesome boys and girls to call me to a simpler life of faith, one that sets aside all the aspects of adulthood that at some point I set directly in the path of me and the Jesus who calls you and me to receive the kingdom of God as a little one.
How does your walk with Jesus need to change today?