Children’s ministry can be hard. There is no way around it. There are so many moving pieces: lessons to plan, games and activities to facilitate, craft and snack supplies to prepare, media to queue, and countless other things that demand our attention. We do it week in and week out often wondering if what we are doing is really making an eternal impact on these kids.
We teach and we pray for and we pour into these kids for a few short years and then they move up to student ministry. We are blessed when the relationships we built continue but that is not always the case. I’ve been in children’s ministry for over 20 years. I love getting to see some of my kids who are grown and still following Jesus and have kids of their own. But with the amount of kids who’ve gone through my ministry, this is the exception and not the rule. I’m often left wondering what became of some of the children I’ve served over the years. This can be disheartening for children’s ministry leaders but I want to encourage you to keep the faith in this noble work.
As children’s ministry leaders, we may never see the fruit of our hard work, but we wait patiently in faith for what God is going to do in the lives of these children. 1 Corinthians 3: 7-8 says, “So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” When a child comes to faith, we rejoice. But if they grow up to be disciples who make disciples, we rejoice all the more. It just takes years and years of waiting. Yet we wait eagerly for it knowing that God is faithful and His Word does not return void.
So what shall we do while we wait? What can we celebrate now as we long for the day our children grow up to be resilient disciples? Kids ministry is a long game, but there are short term victories to be had. Sometimes they are right under our noses and we don’t give them a second chance. Here are a few short term wins I celebrate in kidmin on a regular basis.
- Celebrate when kids memorize Scripture.
Scripture memory will serve kids now as well as when they are older. Whenever a child learns a new Bible verse and commits it to memory, they are locking in their heart a special Word from the Lord that will not return void on them. It will do its work.
Think back on when you faced a trial or an unfortunate circumstance. Did the Holy Spirit bring a familiar verse to your mind? Did it give you wisdom and strength? This same work of the Spirit happens for our children who commit Scripture to memory. What a gift God’s Word is to us! Whenever children memorize God’s Word, celebrate with them. They’ve just been set up for success.
2. Celebrate whenever and however they engage in your ministry.
Sometimes as I teach I look out on the sea of little faces and think, “Am I getting through to them? Do they really get it?” But children are engaging and they give us clues that they are catching on to what we are imparting to them. Maybe a child volunteers to pray. Or maybe they begin asking questions. These are evidence of the Spirit at work in their hearts. Don’t take these moments for granted. Remember the promise that the work that God began in them, He will see to completion. And we have the honor of being invited into that process.
I recently attended summer camp with some of my elementary kids. I sat back and watched as they raised their hands in song to Jesus. I listened as they proclaimed his goodness and faithfulness. Watching the next generation worship freely and honestly will give you chills. Again, this is evidence that God is at work. Praise Him for the worshipful moments you are privileged to witness.
3. Follow up on their prayer requests.
How is God answering the prayers of your children? Check in with them regularly to see what God has been up to in their lives. Sometimes it may be small like a test at school. Other times it may be a prayer that they have been praying for regularly.
One of the girls in my ministry has a dad who is a soldier and was recently deployed. Every time she prayed in service she made mention of him. He recently returned home safely, and now we get to celebrate with that family. God heard this child’s prayers and answered her. We would be amiss if we did not acknowledge this fact. God hears our children’s prayers today and answers them. We don’t have to wait to celebrate this victory; we can celebrate today!
What are some wins in children’s ministry that you regularly celebrate? Leave a comment down below.
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