Why You Should Throw Children into the Deep End With God

AdobeStock 80700930 72There are good…and sometimes bad…ways to teach kids how to swim. My friend learned “the wrong way.” When she was young, she was at her uncle's house, and she told him she wanted to learn how to swim. She explained, "Then he grabbed me, threw me into the pool's deep end, and cried out, ‘Swim!’” Darla learned how to swim that day. It was not the best way to learn, but she did it.

Sometimes, it is best to throw them into the deep end with God when working with children. Let me explain. After working with children for more than 33 years, I have found there are two types of ministers. First, there are the overprotective leaders who say, “I don't want to cause them any stress.” “I want to teach them how to function in life.” “The church should be a safe environment for them.” and “They are not developmentally ready for these kinds of things."

Next, there are those children's ministers who throw children into the deep end. They make provision for the kids to serve, and they give them “sometimes impossible” tasks. But through God's power and grace, they accomplish what they set out to do. They might say, "Next week, I will have you teach the lesson in Children's Church. I want you to run the sound system, and you will be greeting all the kids and checking them in on the computer before Bible study hour. This person looks at kids as younger brothers and sisters in Christ who are gifted by the Holy Spirit.

In comparing the two, you must ask, “Who is raising kingdom-focused kids in the ministry?” Leader number one is overprotective and does not believe children have a voice in the Church. Then, you have the seemingly careless children's ministers who throw kids into the deep end. They appear not to care, but they actually care the most because they want kids in their ministry to connect with God's plan and purpose.

No one likes to sit on the bench in sports, and neither do kids want to just sit and watch you minister to them. They want to play in the game—they want to be the Church today. Sadly, many have embraced the model that says children are not ready to serve God now. Hence, the children in their ministry are not allowed to play the game, and they only get to sit and listen—bench warmers. In contrast, children who serve are excited about being at church every Sunday and Wednesday night because they get to play in the game.

Which one are you? The overprotective leader or the leader who goes the extra mile? Are children recipients of ministry in your church or givers of ministry? You must choose door number one or door number two. Door number one produces recipients of ministry, and they grow up to be adults who come to church to receive and not give in return. Then there is door number two, which develops young leaders. They become adults who are ready and willing to serve when and where needed. 

I challenge you to read Ephesians 4:11-13, and then choose the path you want to take with the younger saints in your church.