When I was a kid I used to go to church alone. I can’t really explain why 6-year-old me felt compelled to do that but I did. Just about every Sunday I would get up, have breakfast, wake my parents up, and had them drive me to the church that I also went to school at. I did this until I was old enough to walk there and back by myself. I think it really weirded my parents out for a while. “Why’s this kid going to school on a Sunday?” they probably thought to themselves. I was a pretty strange child anyway so my parents just rolled with it, figuring there were worse things that I could be doing.
I never really made a lot of friends at church growing up and almost quit going. As I was starting to leave one time my Sunday School Teacher, Miles, asked me where I was going. I told him I was going home because I had no one to sit with me in church. Miles stopped me and said that I could sit with him and his family. Later that day Miles took me home and asked my parents if it was OK with them if I sat with him and his family whenever I came to church. My parents knew him a little from school because I was in his daughter’s class and they said it would be OK.
It was one of the first memories I have of ever being accepted by people who weren’t a part of my family. It’s the first time I can ever remember someone caring about me when they didn’t have to. And I’ve been in Children’s Ministry ever since.
Children’s Ministry is so much more than crafts, Bible trivia, and babysitting. It’s about helping kids feel loved so that they can give love away. It’s about helping them to understand joy when life isn’t fair. It’s about helping them to know the peace that God can grant when their family is spinning out of control and they feel all alone. It’s about helping them to practice patient when the world tells them they are entitled to anything and everything. It’s about helping them trust that kindness is really the right response to that kids that keeps picking on them. It’s about helping them want to be good when they could do something bad and get away with it. It’s about helping them to give gentleness in response to the hurt that they experience. It’s about being faithful to them so that they will be faithful in their relationships later on in life. It’s about helping them to see the consequences of a life that is not self-controlled so that they will make wise choices when they get angry.
This weekend when you go to church and that one kid keeps hovering for your attention, think twice about just ignoring him. Your one kind act can make all the difference in his little world. It can change the direction of his whole life.