In 2001 I arrived in Australia from New Zealand for bible college. It is the one decision that has perhaps made the biggest impact on my life, outside of course getting married (and the time I had that curry in India…).
I have had the same job now for 19 years: outworking the vision and mission of our church by working with our amazing kids and families. Which has lead to the amazing privilege of writing this book to (hopefully) inspire others to do the same.
I wanted a book to give a person in your church who perhaps has the gifts and abilities to lead children, but may not even know the opportunity exists (I know I didn’t before going to bible college). A read-in-one-sitting kind of book that gives them the vision to get involved with the biggest harvest field in the Church today.
If you find yourself needing to grow a team, or inspire others about children, I encourage you to buy this in bulk and invest it liberally into the lives of others!
(From Chapter 4 “Are You Winning”)
I grew up in a small town with about 600 people – we had 150 kids in our school. The church my family was a part of was huge, or so I thought, but looking back it may have been significantly smaller than I remember. The church’s kids ministry was upstairs. Along with bright red carpet, it had a TV, a VCR, and smaller rooms for each age group. The place was full of amazing people who loved God.
Because of them, I have fond memories of my time there.
I dare say that the kids you lead today may have a similar experience (likely without a VCR). They will hopefully remember some big events or important moments but, don’t expect them to recall your preaching points from March 7, 2011.
The leader that consistently sows into the lives of others has a place in the hearts and minds of those they serve. Look out for milestones and growth, no matter how small in the people around you.
Here are some things I really want to accomplish during a weekend:
Take a deep dive into ‘Kid Culture’ – Showing kids you care is easy. Over the years, I have had many conversations about things I knew nothing about: the complete history of Pokemon, Dragonball Z, Minecraft and sporting teams… be interested not just interesting.
Have a spiritual conversation – It’s simply bringing God into the middle of a problem. Prayer is often the last resort rather than the first option, so my mission during a weekend is to engage with kids, pinpoint their needs and invite Jesus into the situation.
Speak a word of encouragement to a child – Seize the moment and in front of all the kids or during small group time, take the time to remind a child that God knows them by name.
Make kids laugh – It’s important we make church a place that is enjoyed, not just endured. The simple fact is if kids are having fun, they are learning. Defences are down and worries are forgotten. This is not optional. It’s part of the reason why our curriculum videos contain so much comedy.
Give away the ministry – Can I give an opportunity for someone else to take the lead? Can I empower someone else to try something they have never done before? If I notice someone is gifted in an area, I want to do everything in my power to develop that gift.
But at the end of the day, it’s important to note that I don’t just do what I think is important.
As a vital part of your church team, you don’t function as an island. In a healthy team, people are connected and support each other. Doing only what you think is important is a surefire way to frustration.
I want to fulfil the mission statement of our church, not build a separate ministry.
What do your pastor and leadership team value? What would they consider a win? Ask them the question – you might be surprised by the answer. It may just redirect your efforts to something greater than you could have imagined.
About the book:
Build lives, discover purpose and thrive as you serve the kids of your church
You are a missionary into the world of children. You’re stepping into an unknown culture with its own language and customs to bring the eternal message of Jesus. If Jesus admonished the disciples when they kept the children from Him, how He must love those who bring the little ones to Him. This book is written as a reminder to those who have served children for a while, to take a step back and ‘don’t forget why you are called to this’. It’s also for those about to step into the unknown, this is a ministry too vital to be ignored with an influence that is eternal.