The Children's Ministry Needs You . . . and You Need Them

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As I've mentioned before, I recently started helping with the Wednesday children's program at my church.  Even though I've only been there a few weeks at this point, the experience has me thinking about why it's so important for the adult members of the church to be involved in the children's ministry.

They Need You

Those kids are all different.  Every kid that comes in the door is unique.  They have different family backgrounds, experiences, abilities, and interests.  The children's ministry needs adults with varied family backgrounds, experiences, abilities, and interests.  You might be the one person uniquely qualified to make a difference in a certain child's life.

The sweet little girl I meet the first week I volunteered needs someone who can help her understand her introverted personality.  I'm not sure quite yet how to do that with a five year old, but I'm looking forward to trying!

Order is in short supply with large groups of kids.  Having not been around a large group of kids in several years, I forgot how much they move!  Even sitting in a chair, their chairs are tilted back on two legs, or they're leaning forward with their hands on the floor, or their feet are up in the chair, or they're tapping on the chair . . . or the child . . . in front of them, or . . . .  And that's just sitting.  Plenty of help is needed to have even a semi-productive program.

Kids may not particularly like being corralled to one room or seated in rows of chairs, but they are there for a purpose.  If people are not willing to help keep the peace, chaos will reign.

Extra hands are always in short supply.  Especially with younger ages, help is always needed with handing out snacks or craft materials and supervising trips to the restroom or water fountain.

And of course, quality teachers are needed.  That doesn't mean you need a teaching degree, but you should be knowledgeable and comfortable with kids.  

You Need Them

I have been assigned to help with the 3rd grade girls.  We are given a list of questions to ask that come from the large group lesson, but the discussion eventually dissolves into other questions.

One of the girls asked, "Who is God?" 

The question stopped me in my tracks.  I couldn't decide if it was the easiest question or the hardest question.  The class leader answered easily by listing attributes and of God, such as God is love.  That was a great answer, but I still wonder how I would have answered the question.  Rather than listing attributes, I found myself thinking of titles.  Father.  Creator.  Savior.  

When you work with kids, you learn how much you really know or don't know about a subject.  They will ask the question you never thought to ask, at least not since you were their age.  When you try to explain grace to a child who's never heard of it before, you may open up more nuances of it for yourself.

Everything is new again.  Have you been in church since you came home from the hospital?  Teaching a child the stories of the Bible, such as David and Goliath or Joseph and his coat, allows you to see the stories with fresh eyes.  Do you remember the first time you heard how David bravely stood against Goliath in the name of God?  Probably not, but watch the reaction of the children when they hear about how David fought the giant.  See the story with the awe that comes with hearing it the first time.

Learn the stories of God's people.  Maybe you found Christ as an adult and didn't grow up hearing the stories of the Bible every week in Sunday School.  Sunday morning sermons may come with the assumption that you know what happened to Joseph in Egypt.  Maybe you don't.  Helping with a children's class is a great way to learn those stories.  They are told simply, so you might miss some of the details, like what exactly Potiphar's wife was up to, but you'll find a great starting point to becoming familiar with the Bible.

Childlike faith is demonstrated.  Jesus said our faith should be like that of children.  But what does a childlike faith look like?  Children find it easy to trust God, knowing that He is who He says He is and He'll do what He says He'll do.  He takes care of monsters in closets and dragons under beds.  As adults, our monsters are real and our dragons are real.  But seeing a child's unwavering faith in God to take care of them can encourage us to have that same kind of faith.

If you are looking for a way to serve at your church, working with the children is a rewarding way to do that.  The benefits are great, for yourself and for the children you are working with.  

Do remember that churches often perform background checks on potential volunteers in order to secure the safety of the children.  Even if your background is clean, if you know of any reason you should not be working with children, I ask that you find a different place to serve in the church.  Ask your pastor or an elder to suggest a volunteer position for you that won't put you or the children of the church into an unsafe situation.

Have you ever helped in a children's program in your church?  What did you learn from the experience?

If you learned something from this post, I hope you'll use the sharing links below to like, tweet, or pin it so that others can benefit as well.  Thank you!

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2 Responses to The Children's Ministry Needs You . . . and You Need Them

  1. Christina ChannellOctober 6, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Great post! I recently became a catechist at my church and now teach 15 first graders every Wednesday afternoon. It has been both a challenge and a blessing in many ways.

  2. First graders! That must be so much fun! I'm so glad you're enjoying the experience.


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