Children’s Ministry is Not a Joke

Can children’s ministry be more than just kids memorizing verses and answering Bible questions? I think so.

Sometimes people think that’s all Kids’ Ministry is capable of. Or worse, that’s all they really want from us. Sometimes I get frustrated with the perception a few non-children’s ministry people have about what we do.

A couple of verses got me thinking about this in Ezekiel 33:31-32 last week.

Here God is basically telling Ezekiel that people come to listen to him put on a show but aren’t really doing anything about what he’s saying because they think he’s a joke. Sound familiar? It got me thinking: do other people see me as a joke because I am a children’s pastor? Yes, there are people out there who think that and have told me to my face.

If you’ve been in children’s ministry for a while (especially if you’re a guy) I bet people have asked you when you are going to “grow up” and become a real pastor. After reading this passage it made me realize that I am in good company. No Christian today would think that Ezekiel wasn’t a real prophet but a lot of his contemporaries laughed at him just like some people laugh at me for being a children’s pastor. They didn’t get all of the weird stuff that he did and, if you’ve read his book, you know that there was some pretty weird stuff that God asked him to do. He did it anyway because he knew deep within himself that God would use his ridiculosuness (is that a real word?) and do something great. And that’s the same way with you and me.

We know that the funny skits we do have a purpose in bringing God’s word to a place that kids can reach it. We know that the messy crafts that often times get thrown away help kids to touch a bit of the truth that God wants to instill in their little minds. We know how silly we look doing hand motions and dancing during worship but it’s not all that different from what David did to show how great God is and how worthy He is of praise. We do it to model for kids that sometimes God will ask you do things that are counter-culturally but they (and we) need to do it anyway. God’s got a great story to tell in and through these young lives and he’s called us to be the Ezekiel’s in their world and to help point them in the right direction.

Others may laugh at what we do and think it’s glorified babysitting but we know better. We know that we are accountable to God for this next generation of world changers and for shepherding the volunteers that are investing in their future. So we’ll keep doing what we do and we’ll hold off on “growing up” to be “real” pastors a bit longer because we know that God is working something eternal in all of this and we’re not going to miss out.

As you’re coming off the weekend maybe your object lessons didn’t go as planned, or that one kid (yeah, we all have that one kid) got the best of you, or that activity that looked good in the curriculum didn’t connect like you hoped it would. Whatever happened yesterday good or bad just know that God IS going to redeem it and make it into something amazing! And the next time you feel like no one at your church takes you seriously because of what you do just crack open the book of Ezekiel and know that you are in good company.

–Jeff

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