Summertime. People in most other occupations are scheduling time off, looking forward to some downtime, preparing for vacations, but for those of us in children’s ministry, we are ramping up for Vacation Bible School, summer camps, park or outdoor ministry and other summer events.
These can be times of great joy as we work to fulfill the Great Commission as best we know how, using our God-given talents, and following where the Spirit is leading us.
Seeing the fruit of our labors when a child really “gets” the Bible point through a lesson or experience we have expended great effort on, being there as a child comes to Christ, helping a child take the next step on the road to salvation, building relationship with kids, parents and volunteers – these are some of the things that lift our spirits and make us want to do the happy dance!
I have found that whenever I have a “mountain peak” experience like that, soon afterward will come a time of slogging through the valley.
It reminds me of Elijah, who, in 1st Kings 18:1- 40, confronted King Ahab and the 450 prophets of Baal in a dramatic showdown on Mt. Carmel, in a literal mountaintop experience where God sent down fire from heaven at Elijah’s request.
In the very next chapter, Queen Jezebel threatens him and Elijah runs away and hides and begs God to take his life, in utter depression.
Have you had this experience of feeling on top of the world, only to end up sad and depressed by others’ actions or words?
It’s common knowledge that we can be given positive words many, many times, but the negative words are the ones that we most focus on. You may have just rocked out an amazing VBS that changed the lives of many children and had wonderful positive comments from parents and kids, and then have someone drag you down by an ugly comment or critical judgement couched as “helpful criticism”. You may be reaching out to the kids in your community in ways you never could before, only to have a negative person accuse you of not paying enough attention to “our kids” at “our church”.
Whatever it is, it is helpful to know it’s coming. Satan’s tactics are the same now as they were in Elijah’s day – make you want to run and hide, feel defeated and depressed.
Just like Elijah, though, it’s good to know that God will not leave us alone in our despair. He gives us a time of rest and strengthens us, then sends us forward into the ministry to which he has called us.
He also lets us know that we’re not the only ones. Elijah needed to know that God had 7,000 other Israelites ready to stand for God with him. Sometimes God helps us see that we’re not standing alone by other ministry leaders or volunteers coming alongside us, or through the greater kidmin community in online groups who give us words of support and encouragement when we need it.
So take a deep breath as you come off the mountaintop, remember the tactics of the enemy, get some rest, stay in the Word, and remember you are not alone!