Guest Post – Empowering Children’s Ministry

Baptism by fire, that’s the phrase right? Yep, that’s what it is. And that’s how my official ministry to children started off.

Newly appointed Assistant Preschool Director, I walked in that first Sunday on the job ready to take on the world. Snacks were stocked and coloring pages were passed out; worship hour was starting. Still getting my bearings on the ins and outs, the preschool director gave me my first official task.

“Go get Sally; she must have forgotten it’s her turn in the preschool class today.”

I was so on it. Well, I was until about halfway down the aisle I realized the congregation had just been asked to take a seat. Now, a little timid since I had to walk all the way down the aisle to Sally, I picked up the pace. I found her, leaned in, and quietly whispered,

“I think you forgot, today is your day in preschool.” I held up the schedule in my hand as proof.

“Um, no. I need to be in here today. This is more important,” she replied.

I pleaded my case a bit as quietly as I could but she didn’t budge. Not wanting to make any more of a spectacle of myself I turned and all but ran.

“This is more important.” Big church. Where the adults are. Where I can be fed. Where I am served. That is what’s important.

Is that all that’s important? Is it only ministry to adults that counts? Is all that happens for the 12 and under crowd babysitting and keeping them out of the way?

We often think that children are “adults in waiting”…waiting to grow-up, waiting to be able to contribute, waiting to take part, and dare we say, waiting to be old enough for the Spirit to work in their life. While there may be truth to some of that, we can’t forget that children are fully human and have value just as they are. We also must not confuse maturity or understanding with a number of years, especially where the work of the Holy Spirit is involved. There’s not a “Junior Plan of Salvation” just for kids. The same Holy Spirit that works in the life of a 30 year old, can and does begin to work in the life of a six year old to reveal their need for salvation. It’s not a lesser work because the years are less.

That first encounter made a deep impression on me and for many years I operated out of a sense of apology for having to staff kids classes and fill the VBS volunteer sheets. I’ve since put that aside and confidently and unapologetically serve and expect others to serve the kids and families of our church.

I’ve served at the same church for my entire ministry. I’ve been able to see firsthand how the church culture changes because value and expectation were properly assigned and communicated from the top down. I’ve worked with pastors who seemed indifferent to children’s ministry which inadvertently fostered the “this is more important” attitudes and I now have the privilege of working with a pastor and church leadership who value and champion kid’s ministry.

I’m not placing all the responsibility on pastors; however, when the playing field is leveled and kid’s ministry is regarded in the same way and held to the same standards as other ministries, it makes a world of difference. I know from experience this helps kid’s ministry to be seen as more than just childcare, it allows volunteers to feel their time investment is worthy and it empowers kids leaders to confidently teach and preach the Gospel to sinners in need of the Savior – regardless of age.

That is what’s important.

Sharity Wade is the Children’s Minister at Sachse’s Church in North East Dallas County.

Please note: The views & opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of Lifeway Christian Resources.

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