Your Church Needs You to Serve Kids More Than Ever
Praise the Lord that life is beginning to get back to normal in most places in the United States. As vaccine rates rise and new CDC recommendations emerge, restrictions are loosening and reopening is more common. Many children’s ministries have been open for months and some are just starting to meet in person.
Wherever your church falls in that spectrum, I can assure you of one common need. Your church and your church’s kids need you to step up.
I know you’re busy. Maybe your kids are grown and you feel it is not your turn anymore. Maybe you decided long ago that children’s ministry just wasn’t your thing. Perhaps you have kids of your own and you want a break on Sundays. I get all of that. For twenty years I’ve talked to church members who said those same things.
But this season is different.
We are coming back from something our modern day ministries have never encountered before. It has been a terrible challenge, but at the same time I know God is doing amazing things in the lives of His people and His churches.
Our church returned with a fresh vigor and anticipation of God moving. And He has been. But as I work with our own leadership and as I counsel children’s ministers in different parts of the country, I am realizing that our children’s ministry leaders need you more than they ever have before.
How is it different now? Here are five reasons:
- Not everyone came back. Many long term volunteers haven’t come back and many won’t. Many were senior adults who were cautious. They are just now coming out of staying at home and are not prepared to be in a room full of children. Many members made a transition during the pandemic and aren’t returning to your church at all.
- Your leaders are exhausted and burning out. When churches had to close, your children’s ministry leaders had to immediately switch gears and figure out how to serve families from afar. Next, they had to figure out how to reopen with a boatload of conflicting and confusing information. No matter what decisions they made, they lived with the burden of anticipating a call that someone had exposed others to COVID. They have had to essentially rebuild their volunteer force from scratch. And they are tired. Really, really tired. They need you.
- Normal is not normal. These days if a volunteer has the sniffles or a cough, they can’t come. If someone gets quarantined, they are out of pocket for 7-14 days. This is our “new normal” – to use the term we all hate now. Not only are children’s ministry leaders working to staff each Sunday, they also are having to find more substitutes than ever.
- Our kids are still recovering. Research is showing us that kids are experiencing anxiety and depression at alarming rates. Our church’s kids have been through a lot this past year. They need to be in solid ministry experiences where the truth of Scripture is reinforced and they can rebuild relationships with other kids and adults. Your leaders are likely having to make tough choices about how to do ministry with fewer people. They are trying to create the very best environments they can, but may be having to make choices in curriculum and programming that they don’t want to make. They need more volunteers to best minister to kids who are coming back from a really tough place.
- Current volunteers are tired. If your church is like mine, we had a core of incredibly faithful volunteers who jumped in as soon as our doors opened. They went from weeks at home with no commitments to selflessly committing to serve week in and week out. That was a big jump. Now, in our situation, we are nine months in and people are tired. They deserve massive applause and reinforcements.
What does this have to do with you? Everything! As a member of your church, whatever your role there is, I challenge you to reach out to your children’s ministry leaders. At the very least encourage them and support them. But I believe you can do more than that. Ask how you can help during this season. Does that mean you may have to suck it up and change some diapers? Maybe. Does that mean you may have to commit to be somewhere on a Sunday? It does. Does that mean you may have to be around kids even though that may not be your first choice? Yes.
Why you? Because Jesus calls each of us to die to self and to serve. Because Jesus really meant it when He said, “whoever welcomes one child like this in my name welcomes me.” Because this could be a crucial moment in the life of your church. Most of all, God wants to do incredible things in the life of your church and in the hearts of kids.