I have the blessing of leading a turbulent yet rewarding group in the church. It’s spelled: C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N. When I wrote that I was cheering it in my head and my heart was revving up. Working with children brings me that kind of joy.
I know I’m not alone. I have a wonderful team working with me from our church body, and I meet with other children’s ministry leaders from around our community and around the world. We minister to children and their families Sunday mornings and Sunday nights; Wednesday nights and summer programs. We sponsor lock-ins, parties, picnics, carnivals, and parades. When one event finishes, we are thinking about the next. For example, it’s January, and I am already watching the door step for materials I have ordered for the vacation Bible school that I will be directing in August.
In our church, we are all volunteers, and we have been gifted in ways only God could formulate and bring together so well. My team is filled with the Spirit and full of creativity, patience, and a desire to see children filled with the Spirit and growing in their maturity and relationship with Christ. Lately, we have been feeling a bit of an overburden, though. We were sitting around a volunteer meeting sharing concerns in our classrooms and began counting out how many children come to us with diagnoses like: autism, oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and phobias against authority.
Okay, I made that last one up, but there is a growing population of children who either have no idea there are people who have been given authority over them, or see people in authority as pawns in a game-just people to battle against as often as possible over whatever they can. There are times when I look at my volunteers after classes and see warriors coming out of the dust cloud of battle. We gather to pray and cry and laugh and encourage. And sometimes we just hold one another as we hand over what we all pray are not casualties to God. We share the gospel. We teach who God is. We teach what He has done, what He is doing, and what He is going to do. We minister to the children and lovingly discipline them through all the screaming, the bad words, the hitting, the kicking, the throwing, the biting, and the general bad choices our children make because God has done even more for all of us. And we are given more than enough to continue the work we have been given to do should we accept this great assignment.
Each day I have to claim God’s promises. Promises such as 2 Corinthians 9:8, God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
I want my teammates to remember why we are searching the community and our church for the lost and lonely lambs…Satan is out there seeking them too and he lies in waiting to steal them, kill them, and destroy them. (John 10:10) This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 2 Corinthians 9:12, 13.
I thank God for those other moments we as children ministers and teachers get to share when we are together. Moments when a child we have been fighting for spiritually runs up and hugs us. Moments when children who once questioned if anyone could truly love them says, “I sure do love you.” Yes, there is great reward on this spiritual battlefield. Be encouraged mothers and fathers. Be ready and willing and filled with the Spirit teachers and leaders for the battle is the Lord’s, and we have been called to join His army for such a noble and worthy campaign.
Lord, in my prayers, my heart goes out to You. As a child I wandered, and I took many wrong steps and made even more bad choices, but You never let me go. I ask You in Jesus’ name for these children. I ask You to change their hearts and that their hearts will soon go out to You in whole because of Your great mercy and the grace You have given us. Thank You for your indescribable gift! Thank You for your faithful mighty power and love! Amen