The Very High Calling of Children’s Ministry
Huh? You may be wondering if you read that right? Yup, you did.
How can week after week of service to people who come up no higher than your shoulder (unless you’re short, like me, then they get taller than you at some point) be a high calling? How can it be a high calling when no one on earth seems to understand what you are doing or why, except for those serving with you? How can it be a high calling when you see the horrifically disgusting things (for the sake of decorum, we shall not go into details today) that kids do and you try desperately not to gag while teaching them (please tell me that happens to other people too!)?
Why? Because Jesus said so!
“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.'” Mark 10:13-14
Think about it, what other group of people did Jesus specifically call out to be brought to Him and never hindered? Hmm, is that crickets I am hearing, because I’m pretty sure the answer is none! Children were the one and only group of people that Jesus distinguished in this way. It is also worth noting that when His disciples tried to stop the children, He was “indignant.” That’s right, He was angry! His reaction shows clearly children are very important to His heart.
It is no surprise, then, that Jesus’ command to “let the children come to [Him]” is echoed in the statistics that we have today regarding children’s ministry.
Those statistics say that when 3 kids hear the Gospel message one of them will accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. That’s right 32% of kids between the ages of 5 and 12 who are presented with the saving message of what Jesus did will choose to follow Him in faith. That percentage drops to 4% between the ages of 13-18 year olds and 6% from 19 and up.* As George Barna says in his book Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, “If people do not embrace Jesus Chris as their Savior before they reach their teenage years, the chance of their doing so at all is slim.”
Where the Harvest is
Now, I am not at all saying that God cannot save whomever He chooses at whatever age. He can work miracles in anyone’s life and He is never confined by statistics. Therefore, it is necessary to have ministries and missions in place for every age and stage of life. After all, we want to be responsible in sharing the Gospel with everyone.
However, Children’s Ministry is where the Harvest is ripe! If most people are going to accept the Lord as their Savior before they are 13, then sharing Jesus with them during their elementary years is vitally important! That is the most likely place where they will come to know Jesus, after all.
Look at it this way, if you tell 100 kids about Jesus, 32 of them will accept Him as their Savior. If you tell 100 teens, 4 will come to know Him and if you tell 100 adults, 6 will come to know Him.
If you are working with kids between the ages of 5 and 12, be blessed, because you get to bring in the biggest Harvest! What an amazing honor that is! Think of it, if you’re working with kids right now, you are working with the exact group of people who have the very real potential of completely changing the world for the Lord!
So, what are you doing to work to bring kids to the Lord? Do you set out snacks? Do you give hugs when someone gets hurt? Do you plan and teach the lessons? Do you share the Gospel week after week, when it seems like no one is listening? Do you laugh and cry and continue to love even the hardest kids? Are you “behind the scenes” running sound or keeping records? Then, you are part of this amazing high calling. That’s right-The High Calling of Children’s Ministry.
No matter what your part is in it—big or small—God will bless it. He will multiply it and I truly believe that we have the possibility of seeing the world changed for Jesus by children!
I know the days are hard and there is not a lot of appreciation for those who work with kids, especially those who work in the elementary aged kids. Most of your church’s attention and more of their resources toward minors are likely going toward the teens, if we’re honest. And then comes the nursery, most of the time, and then comes us. And compared to what most churches earmark for adults, we are barely on the map.
Don’t let that discourage you, though.
Know that God sees what you do and He will bring about results that will last, literally, for eternity! So, serve with strength, knowing He is behind you and serve with hope, knowing that He will bring results to your ministry. He will. After all, He commanded that we bring the children to Him. Day after day, week after week, we are doing it and it is a very high calling indeed!
Dear Jesus, thank You for calling us to this high calling to work with kids and to bring them to you. It is not always easy, but things worth doing rarely are. Thank You for drawing so many kids’ hearts toward You. I pray they will always follow You no matter what! Help us to be encouraged by You and to remember You are doing an amazing work through us with this precious children. Amen.
*Source: Transforming Kids into Spirtual Champions by George Barna, 2003, Chapter 2
Need more encouragement? Check out Mr. Barna’s words today: