There are a few things that I am really passionate about. Mostly I am a pretty laid back, mild mannered sort. Mostly. That is until someone brings up something that really gets me going. It happened this week. Completely out of the blue. I wasn’t paying attention and walked right into it. What could I do?
I have a nurse friend who lives in another state. She is a great nurse, and I enjoyed very much working with her. A few years ago she gave birth to twins. A boy and a girl. Red heads.
Totally edible these two kids, and by edible I mean off the hook cute.
My friend attends a Seventh Day Adventist church. This is the church tradition she grew up in, and so this is where she takes her kids to church. Her kids are now preschoolers. A double dose of fun… that is until church time. She recently shared that church is not exactly an enjoyable experience now that she has to manage two busy preschoolers during the adult worship service.
This is what tweaked my passionate heart. I am completely sold on churches investing in the next generation by providing them with their own worship experience. I grew up before the days of kid’s church, and I remember Sunday worship services as mostly… painfully boring. Lots of stuff going on I didn’t understand, music I didn’t like, and messages preached that I couldn’t understand. And I was expected to behave and sit statue-still in scratchy clothing through it all.
The best I could hope for was free space on the bulletin to doodle on. If I got too fidgety, my mom would give me the eye and poke my leg with her finger. The weekly worship service was not the highlight of my week. I think it should be the highlight of my week. So I had a problem.
I grew up and married a minister. We had kids. You’d think I would have remembered my early days suffering through worship services and then would do something different for my kids. Well. I did. But in all honesty, I waited a few years until we left traditional church behind. My husband and I planted a brand new church when my kids were still little.
In this new space there was no one to tell me, “We’ve never done it that way before!” So I was determined at that point to create a place for kids to worship in a way that meant something to them. I wanted to present Bible truths in a way that would speak to their precious hearts and minds. And I wanted it to be FUN! I wanted church to be the best part of their week.
The first time a parent came to me and told me their kids woke THEM up for church that morning I knew we had done it. Imagine that. Kids dragging their parents to church. I was thrilled.
That was a long time ago. I stayed in kid’s ministry for a lot of years. In all honesty, I did it mostly and primarily for my own kids. I didn’t want them to miss out on Bible truths because no one cared to direct it to them. But I soon began to see how children’s ministry affected entire families. Kids were having Bible-centered conversations with their parents on the drive home after church. Families were coming to church happy, not frustrated. You know how frustrating getting everyone ready for church can be! By the time you get there you are a mess! But it is oh so much easier to accomplish when the kids really WANT to go.
My husband moved on to serve in a couple more new church starts over the next few years, and at each place I was blessed with the opportunity to help develop and lead children’s church. The investment was great, but the payoff has been even greater. Beginning in Children’s Church, each of my kids has found a relationship with Christ, and a place of service in the church as they have grown up.
My husband is now serving on staff in the first church in a long while where I have not served in kid’s ministry. It was the first thing I wanted to investigate when we arrived there. I walked into the Children’s Church room and my jaw dropped open. It looked like a Nickelodeon sound stage. I thought… “Now that cost a pretty penny!” But I knew then that this church understood the investment is well worth the return, and as I watched the children in worship I knew the return was even greater than the investment. As I turned to walk out of that room, I thought for the first time ever as I turned to leave, “They’ve got this!”
I may not always serve in kid’s ministry, but I will always be passionate about its importance.
My friend who is struggling now with her twins in church probably got more from me than she bargained for on this topic. I should probably apologize for spraying my zeal all over her. I encouraged her to let necessity be the mother of invention. I urged her to start a Children’s Church in her own church. But that’s what happens with passion. When God places it in your heart, you can’t leave it sitting there.
Where is your passion? What is it that really gets you going? How can you use that to impact your world for the Kingdom? It’s why you are given that passion, you know. For it’s passion that God uses to move the Kingdom forward. So. What does it for you, and how are you using it to move His Kingdom forward?