When I started in Children's Ministry, I felt somewhat lost at the time. I was brand new to ministry in general and especially with children. I did not understand the importance of policies or a protective plan for children. As I trained and prepared for the ministry, I learned an essential key to simplicity. That key is to use (with permission) other leader's and church's ideas, handbooks, policies, and procedures. I asked many churches along the way if I could get a copy of their preschool and children's ministry policies, and they were always willing to give me a copy. They would tell me, “Make them your own.” They are yours for your ministry. So that is just what I did. I would make several copies and sit down with my leadership team, small group director, preschool coordinator, and whoever else served in leadership roles in preschool and children's ministry, and we would make them work for our church.
While talking with pastor Joel Hayworth today, I asked him, “What has sustained you most in life and ministry?” He shared, “I learned spiritual disciplines while I was in the fourth grade. These disciplines carried me through junior high, high school, and college, through good times and difficult times. I learned how to have a daily quiet time, Scripture memory, and service at a young age.”
If you are a children’s pastor/leader, you, like me, want children to walk through life with a solid, faithful foundation that will sustain them through the storms of life. Children today face challenges that many of us never faced at their age. Our culture is bent on their destruction. Without a solid faith, it will be difficult for them to withstand the tests they face. However, they have a Savior who will maintain them and give them a solid footing—Jesus Christ. He is our source of strength and power. He is the center of our target and the goal of our salvation (Hebrews 12:1-5).
Teaching children how to spend time at the feet of the Master daily is so important. Through these times, they learn not to depend on their own strength, but His. They learn to tap into the power of the One living in and through them. When children learn the habit of daily Bible study, Scripture memory, prayer, and service, they learn the keys to enduring faith.
One day I had a fourth-grade girl approach me and ask if she could help out in the children's ministry. I immediately put her in charge of our resource room. Right away, I knew that her gift was administration/organization. I could give her something, and she would get it done. Later when she was in sixth grade, she became our Bus Ministry Director. She made phone calls to about 30 children each week. She also served in several afterschool clubs and grew even more as a leader. She continued to serve throughout high school and college. She now has more than 11 years of ministry experience, and I would choose her among most adults because she is a confident, capable, and fruitful leader. It all started during her preteen years.
I don’t know about you, but this quarantine thing is really tough for me. To be told to stay home is like punishment. I want to be around people. When the governor of our state gave the order to stay at home, we knew it was getting serious. I went to bed hoping that I would wake up the next day and discover it was just a bad dream. All of my plans for the spring went right out the window. It was like a fog came over my life and the ministry, and it would not go away. Then I realized maybe this is not so bad after all.
Several years ago, I had surgery on my shoulder. I woke up from the surgery in a sling tied around my waist. The doctor told me that I had to wear it for five weeks. I could only take it off long enough to shower and change my clothes. All I could do for those five weeks was sit in a lounge chair and ice my shoulder. As many would do, I continued to plan and look toward the future. It seemed that everything I planned just didn’t work. Then I received a sweet little postcard from a senior adult lady in my church. She wrote, “Clint, maybe the Lord just wants you to sit still and wait on Him.” That is not what I wanted to do, but in time, that was the best thing I ever did. You see, I have to learn over and over again. As a friend told me, “It’s okay to stop and not do anything; sometimes, that is the most pleasing thing we can do before the Lord.”