The majority of the time, open letters are meant as a critique. This is not that. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even come close. Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect in greater ways on the labors of those who are working in children’s ministry: church, camps, and beyond. I have always served in children’s ministry, though much less over the past three years than ever before, but it’s been a part of my ministry work since becoming a Christian. It wasn’t until writing and releasing God’s Very Good Idea, however, that the weight of what you do week after week fully hit me.
I’ve never met a children’s ministry worker who wasn’t aware of the privilege of his/her job. Now this doesn’t mean they aren’t out there, but most of the people I’ve interacted with are eager and excited to share the Word with the little hearts and minds entrusted to their care. You, friend, are not a glorified babysitter. The work you do has significant impact on the kingdom. It is no small thing. Each lesson, coloring page, prayer huddle, and diaper change is helping children learn either about Jesus or about the effect of the Spirit in one’s life that would cause them to serve others above themselves.
As someone who has ministered to mostly adults, especially over the last few years, there can be times when we see the effects of our ministry immediately. This is not always the case, mind you, but often after I’ve given a talk or written an article, I get to speak with and hear from people immediately, read a comment or twitter response, or glance through a Facebook encouragement. While this doesn’t always happen, but it occurs often enough to spur me on to the next step of faith in writing or speaking.
You and I don’t often see these immediate evidences of God’s grace. I remember meeting with my editor, Carl Laferton, and he said to me, “You won’t get to see the effect of God’s Very Good Idea until the new creation. It will be brilliant.” I’m paraphrasing my British friend here, but in short, he was kindly reminding me that my little book could have eternal significance that I simply won’t and can’t fully know until we’re in Heaven. My faith was built! Similarly, many of the kids you work with may not be able to fully articulate how your teaching is affecting their heart. They may move to another church or they may even become a prodigal…but then return because of the faithfulness of God and how he used you in their past. You may never know. But you should know that your work in not in vain. We plant seeds, God waters and makes them grow. He promises to finish the good work he begins in little hearts and he will surely do it.
A Gift to Parents
And, finally, what a gift to parents you are. You do not replace the impact or influence of parents, nor would you desire to. But you do help us parents continue to plant the seeds, and you help us to engage in further conversations. And perhaps for some children you really are the only place where they hear and see the gospel being proclaimed. In a world where families can have a look of perfection, we often don’t know what’s lingering behind closed doors. Your words and actions could be God-ordained balm to the soul of that young image bearer.
So, thank you! Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and love of children. Keep going. Your work is a gift of God’s grace to the Church.
(SPECIAL NOTE: The book giveaway is closed. If you are interested…You can grab a copy of God’s Very Good Idea from: Amazon, The Good Book Company, CBD.com, Barnes and Noble and anywhere Christian books can be purchased)
If I could give God’s Very Good Idea away to everyone I know, I would. I want to…and this post is a reflection of that desire. So, if you are a children’s ministry worker or if you’d like to “nominate” a children’s ministry worker, please simply tag them in Instagram or on Facebook or make a comment here. I will choose five winners to each receive three copies of God’s Very Good Idea to use for their ministry.
Can’t wait to give these away!
A special thank you to The Good Book Company for this awesome giveaway! Thank you also to Carl Laferton, my editor, who graciously said YES to this project!
Photo by Megan and Michael Harrington