For Such A Time as This

poor child

The kidmin world has been much engaged of late with the idea of and need for Family Ministry. As we know, according to Deuteronomy 6, the primary responsibility for spiritual training belongs in the home and with the parents. We want to see parents passing on the love of Jesus to their children and working together as a family to be in God’s Word and walk in his ways. We know that this is God’s mandate to parents, and we as children’s ministers are there to help and support them.

But what about the others? You know them. Some are “bus kids”, some are seen at sidewalk Sunday schools, some walk to church on their own, others are dropped off. They’re the ones whose parents are never or rarely seen. They’re the ones who live in turmoil caused by addiction in the family, or whose parents are simply absent from their parenting role, or who see other people or things (a boyfriend, a job) as more important than their kids’ spiritual lives. What about them?

In all the very important conversation about Family Ministry, we need to make sure that these kids, who don’t have family support, have our support. I actually heard someone say that we don’t really need Children’s Ministry anymore, just Family Ministry. The logic was that for thousands of years there was no such thing as Children’s Ministry, that God uses the family for that.

To a point, that is true. But I’d like to suggest that in this day of rampant drug and alcohol abuse, child neglect, child abuse and parental lack of involvement, that God may have literally raised up Children’s Ministry for such a time as this. I believe that He has placed us here at this moment in history to help show these kids that He loves them and has not forgotten them, and that they are part of His family.

Get Behind to Get Ahead

As I was preparing lessons, planning for VBS and summer camp talks, and the many other tasks which occupy much of my time, I began to reflect again about whose agenda am I using – mine or God’s?  I had to remind myself again about my role.  Maybe you could use that reminder, too, so here’s a devotion I wrote about that for CMConnect Conference on the last day, where the keyword was “Advance”.

“Advance”
As I was praying and thinking about writing this devotion, God gave me some very clear pictures to help describe what He would have me say. I believe it is the first time He ever talked to me about NASCAR.
No, really.  It’s like this: when we seek to advance the Kingdom of God, sometimes to move forward, we have to get behind. And here’s the NASCAR part. Have you ever seen how a race driver will get within inches of another car as they’re rounding the track at nearly 200 mph?  This is called drafting, which is basically using the power of the car in front to break wind resistance and allow the car behind to stay steady at a really high speed.
In the same way, the Holy Spirit is that “lead car”, breaking resistance for us and helping us advance more quickly, as long as we stay close to Him.
God also gave me the picture of a bobsled team. (God is very creative – one of the reasons I enjoy hanging out with Him!). He showed me how the number 2 guy on the bobsled tucks right up behind the first guy, the driver. Then, he leans over when the driver leans over and forward as the driver leans forward. They work in tandem to advance through a difficult, slippery course.
Been there lately? Do difficult and slippery sound like good words to describe recent ministry or life experiences? Take a look at how close you’ve been to your “driver”.
As I said (or actually, He said), sometimes to move forward, you have to get behind. We all want to be part of advancing the Kingdom, but we have to relinquish the driver’s seat and get on board with the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Step back today, as you leave the conference, and assess your ministry’s programs. See where you’re driving, and where the Holy Spirit is moving. Make plans to get behind what He’s doing, and watch as you advance to places you never imagined!