Thursday, July 19, 2007
Let the Little Children Come
As I mentioned earlier this week, we're in the middle of Vacation Bible School at our church. I feel fortunate to have been involved for many years in really wonderful children's work in several different churches that shares Christ's love without being pushy or manipulative.
I used to greatly underestimate the importance of such ministries to children. Parents should be responsible to teach their children about God, I reasoned...And so they should...But some parents don't know Christ and even those who do don't always do what they should. But even if they do, families are designed to live in communities of faith and our children's ministries should reinforce what the children of faithful parents are already being taught. How wonderful for little Christians to have the encouragement and influence of teachers who love Jesus!
I think what convinced me of the importance of children's ministry are the stories of several wonderful friends, all of whom came to know Christ because someone cared enough to reach out to them and bring them to church. Most of these friends are now serving God and raising generations (children and grandchildren) who are making a difference in His Kingdom, all as a direct result of a friend, family member, or neighbor who cared enough to bring them to church and/or share the gospel with them. What a joy to take part in having that type of influence in the lives of children and their families who might otherwise never hear about God's love for them! And likewise, what a joy to help reinforce the discipleship of godly Christian parents and to see their children now growing up and serving God alongside me! I can look back over the years and the children I've taught and it brings such encouragement to see that some of them are grown-up young people who work for Christ and share Him with others.
I think a lot about the kids I've taught over the past 10 years, since I first began at 18. They never fail to win my heart. I know I've made a lot of mistakes in my teaching through the years, but I have to trust that God will take even those mistakes and use them to touch these precious children to grow up to be good, whole, people who love Him and others. This week I look at my room full of sweet second graders whom I've come to love so much in the past four days, and I wonder what will become of them. In just a few short years they will be in middle school and high school, making choices that will impact their lives forever. What if they make the most important decision of all because of some small impact I can make? What if they choose to become Christ-followers because I joined with others of His apprentices to tell them Jesus loves them? My prayer each time I get to teach these sweet ones is, "Lord Jesus, let me make a difference."