Welcome to a continuing series of tips on working with large groups of children. I hope that you will find these tips useful and be able to implement them in your dealings with large groups of kids. If you do, please leave a comment and let us know. For a complete list of posts in this series, please see the index page. So, without further introduction, here is today’s installment.
Let’s face it. There is a lot of work to do when you’re involved in ministering to children. Whether you are a children’s pastor or a teacher or a small group leader or a nursery worker, there is plenty to get done and, consequently, plenty to distract you from your own spiritual journey. In many smaller churches, there is only one adult service each weekend. If you work in your children’s ministry rooms every week, it is easy to go long periods of time without ever attending an adult service. I am fortunate enough to attend a church that has three separate services (one on Saturday night, and two on Sunday). Even so, I find myself missing the adult service, sometimes quite frequently, because the service I serve during happens to be the one service each week which is easiest and most convenient for me and my family to attend. It is easy to allow daily time in God’s word to give way to preparing a lesson, or prayer gets skipped in order to gather up supplies and props for the weekend. The fact of the matter is that when we start to neglect our own spiritual journey it impacts our ability to lead kids in their spiritual journey. God gives us ministry so that we can continue to grow in our spiritual journey with him, not to replace that journey. When we allow that to happen, our ministry goes from being something pleasing to God (trying to spread his word) to an idol (something detestable to God).
In my local church, our pastors speak frequently of three habits that Christians must nurture in their own spiritual journey. These include:
- A daily quiet time with God
- A weekly connection time with a team
- A monthly sharpening time with a spiritual partner
Daily quiet time with God includes time spent reading the Bible and meditating on God’s Word. It also includes a time of interaction with God through prayer and reflection. How can we expect to be in a position to teach kids about the Bible if we are not consistently reading and learning from it on ourselves? Furthermore, prayer is crucial to any success we hope to have in our ministry. Anything that we accomplish in Children’s Ministry cannot be accomplished apart from God!
A weekly connection time with a team can include attendance at a weekly service, weekly gatherings of a small group and/or regular meetings with a ministry team. The Bible calls for Christians to be in close fellowship with other Christians, and these weekly gatherings provide an opportunity for that type of fellowship.
Finally, a monthly sharpening time with a spiritual partner is a time for another trusted Christian friend to speak into our lives and help guide us on our journey with God. As the Bible says in Proverbs:
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” [Proverbs 27:17 ESV]
A monthly sharpening time allows us to learn from another Christian who is further along in their spiritual journey than we are. It is a chance for us to learn from someone more spiritually mature.
You can find a listing of these three habits as well as other priorities and values in my church at the following link:
Whether or not you work in Children’s Ministry, you should commit to developing these habits to in order to progress in and deepen your spiritual journey. If you work in Children’s Ministry, you should that much more dedicated to these principals in order to 1) teach them to the children in your ministry; and 2) to live out a genuine Christian life for them to imitate.