I am thankful to be able to work with children in ministry! And I love it! Often people think that it takes a certain kind of person to work in kids ministries. You probably have heard someone say, or said yourself, “I could never do that” in reference to the way another person interacts and connects with children at church. Some just seem to have a knack, or a gift for it.
Honestly, I never realized that this is what I would be doing in ministry. So I didn’t get into it because my “spiritual gift” was working with children. It is not necessarily only those with a “gift” that can serve in children’s ministries. Whether you teach one class, or oversee all the kids ministries in your church, for any ministry to be successful, you need to be passionate about it. And here are three traits that I have learned to be passionate about your kids ministry:
Love. You can’t help anyone if you don’t have love. Children need love. And if they come into Sunday School or their class, and the teacher(s) are not showing love, those children will know. Love your kids! Children are very smart and they can tell if you really love them or are just filling time. It’s easy to love children! Just watch them. If you can love people, you will love children.
But don’t love some more than others! They all need it. If you give more attention to some because they are better behaved, the class will see. And that will not help the others behave better. There are other ways to do that. Give the same equal love to all the children in your class or ministry. Don’t love any one child more or less than another child.
Selflessness. Just like you want to be loved, so do children. And one of the best ways to show your love to someone is with your time. Give your kids your time. You must put yourself aside and just be there for them. Take time to be ready for class, be ready to teach, and to have something for them. Just because they’re children doesn’t mean you can just show up and wing it in class every week. Be ready with a game, a lesson, and time to invest in them. Kids will know if you have something ready for them or not. Don’t let them see that you didn’t think about them at all all week and you just rolled out of bed and showed up to class. You must be willing to give of your time. Just as you expect your pastor to be prepared when he steps into the pulpit to preach the Bible, you kids expect you to be ready to teach them the Bible!
Once when getting ready to start a vacation Bible school, and sharing the vision to recruit workers, someone said to me, “Well I won’t be there because I do not like children.” It shocked and pierced me. This was not a selfless statement. Sure, some children are ornery, rambunctious, or filled with too much sugar. But so were all of us and somebody showed selfless love to teach us! God changes and transforms the lives of children as they grow in Him. And you can be a part of that by teaching them and being a part of their lives. Maybe, it’s just that this person wasn’t ready to give up their own time to prepare, and their time each day at VBS. We must be selfless to truly minister to children.
Believe in them. In my last lesson on my last day of VBT at GRIBT, I kinda began “preaching” to my class of 32 4th & 5th grade boys that they can do something great for God, just like Nehemiah did in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem! That wasn’t really the main idea in the lesson book, but as I looked out at these kids, and saw them sitting there, my heart was stirred with all the possibilities of 32 kids giving their life to God to be used by Him. I believed in them. And every week in my church SS class and in Patch the Pirate Club, I see children that can grow up and pastor churches, go on mission fields, have godly homes, lead in their communities, serve in their church, impact their society for God!
A good coach believes in his team. Believe in those kids! And show them! Spend time with them, take them places, have activities for them. Buy them lunch. Whatever you need to do. This will impact them.
These three simple traits go hand-in-hand. Love them, and you will be willing to be selfless by giving more time to your kids ministry, and the more time you give them, the more you will believe in them. If you can do these things, you can impact children in your church, and you can serve in kids ministries. If you feel like something is missing in your class, or your ministry is a bit struggling or weak, evaluate these areas in your own life and heart. Maybe one of these or all is missing. Get passionate about your class and your kids!
Don’t forget, those kids in your may just be teaching your grandkids one day!