That Moment Made My Week

imageIt’s been a busy week – a really busy week.  Soccer practice in the rain on Monday,  Meeting on Tuesday for a new ministry,  Awana Wednesday night, and a starting a new ministry on Thursday all made for an exciting week.  On top of that, I came down with the worst cold I’ve had in quite a while starting Tuesday morning and continuing through now.  So, do I tell you all that to whine about my week – maybe a little bit.  No, but I wanted to set the tone of my week so that God’s grace is sufficiently clear in the story I am about to tell.

Last night was my first night serving in a ministry called Divorce Care 4 Kids.  If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been spending a lot of time recently on my newest ministry called Divorce Ministry 4 Kids.  As part of that, I found a local church offering the Divorce Care 4 Kids curriculum on Thursday nights and asked if they would let me serve in their program.  They were nice enough to allow it, and last night was our first of 13 weekly meetings.  The leaders of the group are great, and the other volunteers are nice enough, but there was, of course, a bit of awkwardness as everyone gets used to each other.

The night went well.  We had 12 kids, plus three more leader’s kids who have been through the program before.  That alone is a gift from God because as of Tuesday we thought we had seven kids coming.  Two of the first people to show up were sisters aged 11 and 9.  Mom hung out for a while, and it seemed pretty clear that they didn’t want to be there.  They weren’t causing any problems, but they were sticking to themselves and just had that “I don’t want to be here, and you can’t make me like it” air about them.

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Carrying Heavy Stuff (Children’s Ministry Moment #11)

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To me, one of the fun things about teaching large group is asking kids questions.  First of all, you get immediate feedback on whether or not what you are doing is working.  Secondly, you get to engage the kids.  However, I think the thing I like best is that you never know exactly what they are going to say.  It really keeps you on your toes.

This week, we were talking about Nehemiah and the providence and protection of God.  After laying out how God had worked through Nehemiah to do the impossible (rebuild the wall of Jerusalem in 52 days), I asked the kids what in their lives seemed like something impossible that God could help them with.

One little kindergarten aged girl raised her hand and said:

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Them People Ain’t So Smart! (Children’s Ministry Moment #10)

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I haven’t posted a Children’s Ministry Moment in a while so I thought I would share one of my favorite stories from my own son and his Children’s Ministry Lesson. Several years ago, when Jacob was five or six, I picked him up after church as usual. I asked what they had talked about that day, and he told me they learned about when Saul met Jesus and Jesus renamed him Paul. He explained that Saul was traveling on a road to go somewhere when he met Jesus. He couldn’t quite come up with the name of the place Saul was traveling to. I offered up the Saul was traveling to Damascus.

“That’s right,” he said, “Saul was going to Damascus. They call it that because the people there were stupider than anybody else.”

There you have it – Biblical geography through the eyes of a child!

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I love Jesus enough to punch you in the mouth (Children’s Ministry Moment #9)

Childrens_Ministry_MomentsWe have one child in our class who is not really a bully, but he wants the other kids to know that he’s cool and tough and all that.  The other day , I was taking he and a group of other kids to the restroom.  He was walking beside me with a couple of the other boys and explaining that he loved Jesus more than anything.  My heart warmed a little bit just listening to him proclaim his love for our savior.  About ten seconds later, we reached the restroom and he announced to the little boy beside him,

“I really need to go bad, and if you try to go in first I’m going to punch you in the mouth!”

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On the importance of being prepared in Children’s Ministry (Children’s Ministry Moment #8)

Childrens_Ministry_MomentsSeveral weeks ago, we were teaching on the birth of Jesus as part of our December series.  More specifically, we were talking about God meeting our greatest need in sending Jesus Christ to earth.  As part of the lesson, I asked the kids to name some of their needs.  They started, of course, with physical needs like food and shelter and clothes.  Then I asked them to name some things they need which they could not touch.  The kids offered some ideas, but most of them were actually tangible things, and many weren’t needs at all.  I tried to steer them a little bit to things like love and friendship.  One little girl gave the age-old church answer “Jesus Christ.”  Of course, she was right.  That got the rest of the class started, and another shouted “God.”  I said, quite off the cuff, “that’s true, we definitely need God and Jesus Christ is God.  Great answer!”

One little boy in the class scrunched his face and proclaimed with conviction – “Jesus is not God.  He is God’s son, and if he’s God’s son, HE CANNOT BE GOD!”

That morning I learned two very valuable lessons about working in children’s ministry.  #1 – always be prepared.  I was prepared that morning to talk about Jesus.  I was prepared to talk about God.  I was even prepared to talk about Mary and Gabriel and Joseph and Bethlehem.  Heck, I was even prepared to talk about the condescension of God into human form (not in those exact terms, but I was prepared to talk about it)!  I had not planned on talking about the trinity to a bunch of five and six year olds.  Fortunately, my own son had asked me the exact same question a couple of years ago when he was six, and was somewhat prepared to answer.  I talked about the trinity.  I used the example of an egg, I was honest and explained that I did not fully understand it even though the Bible indicates that it is true.  Finally, I explained that the trinity was really an idea that humans could never fully understand until we meet God.  #2 was actually the more important lesson.  It pays to be prepared, but in those moments, we must rely on God to give us the proper words to speak to his kids!

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Everybody Needs Jesus (Children's Ministry Moment #7)

Childrens_Ministry_MomentsDuring one lesson this past month, we were talking about the birth of Jesus and how he is the greatest gift a person could received.  The focus of the lesson was on how God gave us the greatest gift he could give, and we challenged the kids to think of a gift that they could give someone that week to show someone in their life the love of God.  As we were going around the table, one little boy’s eyes lit up as he figured out what gift he was going to give –

“I’m going to tell Santa Claus about Jesus!”

With God all things are possible!  I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas!

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