What I’ve Learned in 19 Years of Kids Ministry
Nineteen years! That’s how long I have been doing Kids Ministry at Bethel Church! Most days that seems like a crazy number of years. How could I have been doing this for so long? Then other days it seems like I just started and there hasn’t been time to make a real difference.
As I reminisce about the past nineteen years, I am so grateful that God purposed this path for me. I have met so many amazing people, great families, and even better kids. God has allowed me to be a very small part of so many things. I have seen God use and change Bethel Church and grow Bethel Kids; I’ve been through building projects, watched many staff come and go, etc.
I have learned many things along the way and here are a few I want to share.
God has a plan, always
When I was approached about the position in Kids Ministry at Bethel Church all those years ago, I never imagined the long-term plan God had for me. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord…” I am so thankful that I surrendered to his will and followed where he was leading. This was his plan. Just as he has a plan now as I step away from Kids Ministry. He has a plan for Bethel Kids and for me. There are many days at Bethel that I have reflected on this truth, knowing and trusting that this was God’s plan.
It takes an army of amazing volunteers to do God’s work
During my years in Bethel Kids, I learned that it takes an army of people to do God’s work. We need each other. We need to work together. There is so much to do, big and small, to share the gospel with others. There are so many volunteers in Kids Ministry that work together to make every little and big thing happen in the ministry. Each volunteer has value and plays a part in sharing the gospel with kids. Every toy cleaned, every room set up, every lesson taught, every snack served, every cabinet organized, every visitor greeted, and the list goes on and on.
Everyone has a story
It did not take me long to learn that every person who walks through the door of Bethel Church has a story. Each story is unique. Each story is important. Each story has molded them into the person who stands before you. And it is good to listen to someone’s story and love them where they are in their story. Each child that we love, teach, and minister to also has a story of where they came from and what is happening in their life. Knowing someone’s story helps you to love them more and minister to them better.
Prayer is key!
Being prayerful in whatever you are doing is key. Often the funny thing about prayer is that it not only grows your relationship with the Lord and helps you know his leading, but it also changes you. Being prayerful over every decision and asking God to help you with each step strengthens your ministry and your ability to lead well.
Kids can do so much more
Kids are amazing and capable of more than we often give them credit for. They are great thinkers, learners, and doers. They are accepting and easily taught. From the moment a child meets you, they want to love you. And they love big! Never underestimate a child at any age. They are smarter than we often think. They can learn much about God and who he is.
I hope Bethel Church never forgets about the children in the back of the church. I pray that we never have to plead for another volunteer to serve the next generation of Christ followers. I pray that we value it with utmost importance to teach the children about this great God we love and serve. I believe that if we teach them about how amazing God is, they will fall in love with him and want to make him Lord of their life. Then we can disciple them to know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
You don’t have to be gifted to rock a baby, play with a toddler, help a preschooler with a project, or even be a listening ear to an elementary child who just wants to tell you why he loves Legos, drawing, or whatever else it is that interests them. All these things can be a way to show Jesus to a child. When you do these things, you just may find yourself telling them why you love Jesus so much and what he has done in your life. It is in those moments when they will discover what it really means to walk with Christ.
It has been proven over the years that a child who attends church does not often remember every lesson that was taught to them, although they remember some. But they remember the volunteer or teacher at their church who called them by name, loved them each Sunday, was faithful, listened to their stories, and showed them what it was like to love like Jesus. I pray that we as a church are that to the kids who enter Bethel Church.
Thank you to all those who have loved me, encouraged me, helped me, prayed for me, and served with me. What an amazing privilege God has given me over the last nineteen years. Keep up the good work—God’s work!