On February 27- March 1 and March 1-3 our friend Justin Smith (justynsmith.com) will be at CPC (Children’s Pastor Conference) in San Diego, CA and Focus Conference in Greenville, SC. If you are at one of those conferences, you should attend one of his workshops or just swing by and say “Hi”. As we here at Whitestone Media were thinking through these two conferences, we started thinking about the wonderful men and women who are called to minister to children.
A few times I have given the bible lesson for my church’s summer VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure). Our VBA has stations, i.e craft station, game station, snack station, etc. In my station, the children heard a lesson based on the day’s bible verses. There were five different groups that would cycle through the various stations. So I gave 5 lessons ranging from 10-15 minutes; around an hours work. I remember thinking, “this should be easy.” But I was so very wrong. As that last group was exiting, I could do nothing but sit right where I was on that stage. The amount of voice projection, movement, and all around energy it takes to keep kid’s interest, the amount of work it takes to communicate in ways that they understand, the heart break as you get to know those kids and hear about their broken homes; is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. I could barely speak and my brain felt like mush. But that was only one day of speaking to kids. It boggles my mind to think about doing that every day. Children’s ministry requires energy that I just do not have.
So why do they do what they do? Is it the great prestige that comes with working with children? Ha, I don’t think so. Is it the great ego-boosting powers that children possess? No, it doesn’t take long in a child’s presence to realize they just don’t care too much about your ego. Is it all the wonderful fruit that one gets to see in children’s ministry? It’s true there are some amazing things to be seen when working with children, but the vast majority of the fruit of children’s ministry comes years later and children’s pastors rarely get to experience it.
I guess what I am saying is I don’t know exactly what would motivate one to pour out their lives in service to children. I suspect it has something to do with Christ’s care for children (Matthew 19:13-15) and His call when He says “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).
I do know, however, there are very few ministries that are as important to the Kingdom as the work that Children’s Pastors do on a daily basis. And for that, we are grateful to those who ministered to us as children and for children’s pastors around the world.