I’ve been involved in Children’s Ministry since I was 10, probably younger. It was a big part of my mom’s life, and she saw every person as having the potential to serve God in whatever situation they were in, no matter how young. So, I got a lot of practice tagging along and corralling kids, leading songs, telling stories, leading lessons, praying with kids and sharing the Gospel. I’ve done it in a volunteer capacity for many, many years, but I’ve also done it in a paid position.
Children’s Ministry is so much more than just babysitting so that parents can enjoy a Sunday morning service without their kids. It involves mentoring, discipling, and pouring into the lives of fellow eternal souls.
It also involves a ton of prep work, paper work and meetings. This past week I spent 7 hours leading training meetings, and I have several more hours to look forward to. Every time I go through the abuse prevention training and updating of Police Checks process (which has happened many, many times over the years), I walk a fine line between tracking people down, getting them to commit to updating and actually doing it, and scaring them off so that they quit volunteering.
See, any church’s insurance policy requires a variety of screening processes to happen for any volunteers or staff that work with vulnerable people, whether that be children, teenagers, developmentally delayed adults, or any other group of at-risk people. If the church doesn’t follow those policies, the insurance company has every right to deny coverage if there is an allegation of any kind of abuse happening in the church or at any church-sponsored event. And of course, these screening procedures ensure that no one is working with children or youth that shouldn’t be working with them. My job is to make sure that the requirements are met to protect the kids, the volunteers, and the church.
Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s my stage in life, or maybe it’s just pure selfishness, but I’m beginning to wonder if all of this trouble is really worth the frustration, the time and the effort. It all makes me just a little insane for the duration.
I was googling “children’s ministry screening” and came across “Divided: The Movie“. I’ve watched it before, but I thought I’d watch it again to keep my mind off of my petty annoyances. It’s an hour or so long, but if you have time and you attend a Bible-Believing church, watch it. Even if you don’t agree with it, it’s very thought-provoking.
The basic premise is that the Biblical model for the gathering of believers (“church)”, is an all-inclusive gathering of all ages, newborns on up. Everyone is together for worship, teaching, and communion. The discipling of the next generation is put squarely in the hands of fathers. And if someone doesn’t have a father, a family that does should welcome them in.
This movie basically contradicts everything I’ve ever believed about Children’s and Youth Ministry, and it does it Biblically. I love the internal angst that happens when a long-held tradition is questioned, with evidence from God’s Word.
And when I watched it again today, I started to wonder if there may be a reason why I dread “update” time every year or so, and why I put it off as long as possible.
Could it be because the very idea of “doing Children’s Ministry” isn’t even biblical? Could it be because I’m doing something that disrupts the God-ordained system of all-inclusive worship and of father-led family discipleship?
I know I don’t WANT to say “yes” to either of those questions. I know that LOTS of good has been done, lots of souls saved, and that lots of kids are living for Christ as a result of Children’s and Youth Ministry all over the world.
But it does beg the question: What more could we be doing if we followed God’s design? What else could be done with the money, time and energy, that we sink into curriculum, supplies, snacks and games for the kids and teens, if we were to follow the Biblical model for church? How could we put more resources into equipping families, and especially fathers, to be the disciple-makers, rather than leaving that job up to our youth leaders and Sunday School teachers?
Something to think about.
“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” ~ Albert Einstein