Are You Trying Too Hard?

We’ve all been there. We want to provide a great children’s program where students learn to love God and operate in the Holy Spirit. We want to make sure every class is manned with competent teachers. We work hard to plan effective outreaches to reach the community.  And we do this all while trying to keep up with all the work involved with keeping up with running one of the largest ministries in the church. But are you trying too hard to juggle all the balls in a way God never expected?

None of these things are wrong. Scripture instructs us to not be weary in well doing. If you do all these things to build the Kingdom of God in the lives of children, you are doing a good work and will be rewarded for it. So what do I mean by trying too hard?

The problem comes when we don’t abide in Christ. If we abide in Christ with all we do, we will be effective and reap a harvest, but if we try to do all these things without abiding in Christ, all we’ll get is tired.

John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

The problem comes when we don’t understand how to abide in Christ. Abiding in Christ isn’t a checklist we do to get God to move in our lives. Abiding in Christ is yielding to His will and allowing Him to move through us. But how do we do this?

138Recognize that without Christ, you can do nothing. It doesn’t matter how great you are as a children’s pastor, how long you’ve been at it, or how skilled you are. Without Christ, you can do nothing of value. Your effectiveness comes from Him.

John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Do what God wants, not what sounds good. Many times, children’s pastors go to conferences, talk to their peers, and read books on children’s ministry to get good ideas on what they should do. None of these things are wrong. But if the latest fad or book is what is driving your ministry, you will be spinning your wheels. Your main job is to find out what God wants you to do in ministry and do it.  We show our love for God through our obedience. Sometimes God will use a book or conference to speak, but make sure it is God speaking.

John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Kids studying bibleLove your students. If you are abiding in Christ, your students will know the love of God through you. If you have problems with certain children, ask God to give you His love for them.

1 Corinthians 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

A blue person stands out in a crowd holding a sign with the word God on it, spreading the holy teachings of the church and trying to convert others to a belief or faith

Remember that it is God’s ministry, not yours. You did not choose to be a children’s pastor because there was a need in the church or as a stepping stone to “real” ministry. If you are a children’s pastor, it is because God chose you to work through to pastor His children.

John 15:15 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

kid-worship-620x335Be filled with joy. If you are abiding in Christ and doing the ministry He chose you for, then you joy will be complete and you will eventually bear fruit. If you are lacking in joy or in fruit bearing, ask God to show you where you need to abide in Him.

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

See You at the Pole 2016 for Children’s Ministry

Every year, youth and children from around the nation gather at the flagpole at their schools and pray for revival. Some have left children out of this great event because of the need for adult supervision. But adults are legally allowed to join students in prayer.

One of the greatest things you can do for the students in your ministry as they go back to their elementary schools is to organize a See You At the Pole Event.

See You at the Pole is held on the last Wednesday of September at 7:00 am. This year, it is September 25th. You can find more information about See You At The Pole  at their website. The theme for See You at the Pole 2016 is We Cry Out: A Generation Seeking Him. Psalm 24:3-6

Organizing See You at the Pole for Children’s Ministry:

Pray: Bathe the students who want to participate in this in prayer.

Prepare: Have an adult leader and student leaders at each school. The students can advertise the event in the school by hanging up posters and telling their friends. The adult would notify the school principal and parents about the event and let them know that there will be adult supervision.

Publicize: Promote this event in your children’s ministry. Get the children excited about it. Give children fliers to pass out to their friends at school. Send a letter home to the parents telling them about this ministry and how their children can be involved.

Plan:  Have the adult at each school get together with the students and plan what they will do. What will they pray for? Will they sing a song or read scripture?

Promote: You can do this by having a special Back to School children’s church where you talk about the power of prayer as the children go to school and how this is one way they can demonstrate their faith. I also recommend a children’s service geared around prayer and this event. Take some time to teach the children why we are praying at the schools and how they can pray. Assure them that they don’t have to pray out loud at these events unless they want to. Showing up and praying silently at the school’s flagpole can be as powerful as praying out loud.

For more information about See You at the Pole, visit their website here.

Remembering 9/11 in Children’s Ministry

This Sunday is the fifteenth anniversary of terrorists attacking the United States on September 11th, 2001. While it affected every one of us, and we all remember where we were and what we were doing on that fateful day, the students in your children’s ministry weren’t born yet. This generation we are ministering to thinks of 9/11 as something that happened a long time ago that they learn about in history books.

Even though they weren’t alive yet, there are many lessons your students can learn from that fateful day. Since the anniversary falls on a Sunday, it would be a great time to commemorate that day and teach those lessons. Here are some ideas for remembering 9/11 in children’s church.

Give your testimony: Tell how you learned about the terrorist attacks and how you felt. Talk about how God saw you through and how God can see them through any problems they face. If you know people who were there that day, tell their stories and about how God helped them through that time of uncertainty.

Praying African Americn boyPray for Our Country: On 9/11/2001, most people prayed for the United States. Since then, our country has moved further away from God. We need to pray for our nation like never before. No only should we still pray for our country’s safety and for our leaders, we need to cry out to God for a Great Awakening to save our nation. Spend time talking about how to pray for our country.

Here are a few articles on prayer that might help.

Heroes Help Others: There are a lot of stories about heroes that helped others on 9/11. Share some stories about those people and talk about how we can help others in need. Spend some time talking about the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11.

What a Hero Looks Like Children’s Sermon

God Is With Us: Talk about the fear people felt on 9/11/2001 and how God is with us even when we’re fearful. Teach the story about Peter walking on water. When he looked at the waves, he was fearful and drowning. When he looked at Jesus, he could walk on water.

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus Children’s Lesson

Missions To Arab Countries: Spend some time talking about how God loves everyone, even the terrorists. Spend some time teaching about missionaries in Arab countries and how they risk their lives to share the Gospel. Have the children pray for the missionaries and maybe write encouraging cards and letters. Kids of Courage has a great free downloadable booklet on Islam.

 

History of Children in Revival – John Wesley

John Wesley and his brother Charles were the founders of Methodism and preached during the first Great Awakening. He is also credited for later influencing the holiness movement and the Pentecostal movement. John was born in England in 1703. On May 24, 1738, on his way to preach in America, he met a Moravian missionary on the ship and experianced his evangelical conversion. Of that experiance, he said he felt, “his “heart strangely warmed”.

John Wesley had a powerful ministry to children. Here are a few of the quotes from his journals.

April 11, 1756. (Dublin) I met about a hundred children, who are catechized (instructed) publicly twice a week. Thomas Walsh began this some months ago, and the fruit of it appears already. What a pity, that all our preachers in every place, have not the zeal and wisdom to follow his example.

July 30, 1758. (Cork) I began meeting with the children in the afternoon, though with little hopes of doing them good; but I had not spoken long on our natural state before many of them were in tears, and five or six so affected, that they could not refrain from crying aloud to God. When I began praying, their cries increased, so that me voice was soon lost. I have seen no such work among children for eighteen or nineteen years.

January 17, 1772. (Hertford) I found the poor children whom Mr. A kept at school were increased to about thirty boys and girls. I went in immediately to the girls. As soon as I began to speak, some of them burst into tears, and their emotion rose higher and higher. But it was kept within bounds until I began to pray.

A cry then arose, which spread from one to another, till almost all cried aloud for mercy, and would not be comforted. But how the scene was changed when I went to the boys! They seemed as dead as stones, and scarce appeared to mind anything that was said, nay, some of them could hardly refrain from laughter.

However, I spoke on, and set before them the terrors of the Lord. Presently one was cut to the heart, soon after another, and another. In ten minutes the far greater part of them were affected as the girls had been. Except at Kingswood, I have seen not such work of God upon children for above thirty years.

History of Children in Revival – George Whitefield

Many don’t know the history of revival. Of those who do, most don’t know that wherever there was revival, children were a major part. If we want revival in America, we need to start with children.

George Whitefield was an evangelist during the first Great Awakening in the 1700s before the American Revolution. Whitefield was bornin England in 1714, and at the age of 18, studied theology at Oxford University. He felt the call of God to become a missionary in America. While waiting to go to America, he started preaching powerfully in London. Many would come to hear his sermons. Because he was so young, he was dubbed the boy preacher.

What people don’t know is that children were greatly affected during his ministry. In a letter dated September, 1741, Whitefield wrote,

“On Monday morning, I visited the children in the three hospitals….

On Thursday evening, I preached to the children of the city with a congregation of near 20,000 in the park. It is remarkable that many children are under convictions, and everywhere great power and apparent success attend the word preached.”

According to this account, Whitefield had a children’s meeting with 20,000 kids. He didn’t need games or skits to keep their attention. the power of God mesmerized them. In April of 1742, an Edinburgh minister wrote:

“On June 3, Whitefield arrived for his second visit to a rapturous welcome, and the following morning, three of the little boys that were converted when I was last here, came to me and wept and begged me to pray for and with them. A minister tells me that scarce one is fallen back who was awakened, either among old or young.”

Whitefield finally did go to America when he was only 25 years old and sparked America’s Great Awakening during a preaching tour of 1739-40. When first arrived, he started an orphanage to care for children and taught children’s classes or messages on a regular basis. Everywhere he traveled, children were at his meetings having their lives transformed.