I have been in this position for six months now as Pastor to Children and Families. It has been both thrilling and challenging. I love getting together with our team to think up creative ways to teach the Bible. I love getting a smile of recognition from one of our 2 year olds when I say hello. I love worshipping with our children either in Kids Church or in Big Church.
But it has been challenging too. Did you know we have over 100 total volunteers who work in the Nursery, Toddlers room, Pre-K/K class, or Kids Church? It is no easy feat scheduling everyone and trying to remember who works where on which Sundays! What I have to confess has to do with that. You see, I am now aware that for the last six months I was consumed with making sure we had enough volunteers to have at least 2 adults in each class at all times. That’s nothing unusual, probably every children’s pastor in the country can relate to feeling overwhelmed at times by scheduling demands. But what I realized recently is that I lost track of what those volunteers are there for in the first place. You see, I had become so focused on my managerial duties that I forgot about some of my spiritual ones.
One Sunday when we were short a volunteer, I went into a class and sat down so that, again, we would meet our standard of having two adults in the class. I chose to sit next to a boy who seemed to be on the verge of being disruptive. The teacher was doing a wonderful job of teaching the story of the 10 plagues using games and participation… but the boy did not seem to be tracking and I figured would soon be looking to do something else.
When I sat down, he greeted me by whispering to me a question: “Do frogs go on both land and water?” Yes, I said, frogs are amphibians. Then another: “What does the word ‘plague’ mean?” Uhh, it’s like when you get sick. And another: “How did they get rid of all those flies that got there?” Hmmmm, maybe some of the frogs who were still around had a feast?
All of a sudden, he was totally engaged in the lesson and was participating in the activity. He wanted to be there. And he had wanted to learn all along. All it took was someone sitting next to him and quietly answering his questions to get him connected. Even though I was not the one up front teaching that day, my role in that room was not just to fill our 2 –adults-in-the room quota. It was to help students learn and to do what I could to see them come alive as they thought about The Story perhaps for the first time. Our children’s program is not babysitting, it is ministry. And I had forgotten that.
Maybe you want to help kids learn. Maybe you want to see kids come alive as they hear the story of a powerful, holy, and grace-filled God. If so, we ALWAYS have a need for you in our children's ministry. Regardless of how many other adults are already in the classroom.