FIRST-PERSON: Why I serve in children's ministry
NASHVILLE (BP) -- If God created everything, how did He create Himself? How was Jesus created?
Can I touch Jesus in heaven?
Does God talk to people in hell?
How will the world end?
What if I'm not dead yet when Jesus comes back?
Does Jesus ever run out of power?
Could a bullet kill Jesus?
Are God and Satan enemies?
Does Satan have power? Where did it come from?
If God is stronger than Satan, why doesn't He just kill Satan now?
Did Jesus have power when He was a baby? Did He have power even when He was in Mary's tummy?
If God can do anything, can He put a baby in a man's tummy?
If I sin, how can I be Jesus' disciple?
I teach first and second grade Sunday school and one morning, I was asked these 13 questions during our arrival activity -- before our lesson even began! (Shout out to SEBTS! My seminary degree got a workout that day.)
I left church later that afternoon so thankful. Thankful for my education and for my own relationship with the Lord that helped me have these conversations. Thankful my kids felt safe enough to ask big questions. Thankful for the ways God was working in their lives and for prompting them to engage critically with the things they were reading and learning. And thankful for a church family that loves and honors children, and desires to see them develop as disciples.
Between my doctoral research and my work at LifeWay Kids, I've learned that studies show that a person's worldview is typically formed by age 13. Studies show that Bible reading and engagement during childhood and adolescence is the number one practice in forming spiritually healthy adults. And studies show that around 66 percent of kids and teens drop out of church once they reach young adulthood, often citing a lack of foundational faith or a lack of personal connection to the faith tradition in which they were raised.
I serve in children's ministry for several reasons. I love kids. I came to saving faith in Christ as a child and I want to share that experience with other children. I love teaching. I believe kids can learn big things. And I feel a sense of urgency; the childhood years are vital to a person's lifetime of faith -- or lack thereof.
Learning the scriptures, engaging in discipleship and spiritual formation, and wrestling with faith is not something that can wait for later.
I truly believe that the Gospel is the most important thing we have to share with others. There is nothing more important than teaching people about God. And not only are these things important, they are very literally a matter of life and death.
Kids can learn algebra. Win athletic championships. Set world records. Do science experiments. Be accountable for responsibilities in the home. They can certainly read (or listen to) the Bible and engage in theological conversations in developmentally appropriate ways.
Children -- persons made in the image of God -- are worthy of dignity, respect, love, and discipleship not just when they reach a certain age or master a certain skill, but today.
The harvest is plenty, but the (KidMin) workers are few. Go, therefore, and make disciples.