“Ugh” Do I have to do Children’s Ministry?

Sometimes when we hear or see the words “Children’s Ministry” a lot of us sigh and say “Ugh ………..,” (you fill in the blank). I used to say those very words when I was filling the need for a Children’s Ministry Director for NCWC back when we met in the basement of our home as the church was being birthed. Eric had been called to pastor, I was his wife and we had 3 children all under the age of 3. I was the obvious choice for the position. “Ugh”

I look back to the beginning of the church. Even before God had spoke prophetic words about NCWC reaching a young generation and NCWC being a youth movement we were ministering to children. We were a small group of families with most of our families having small children. The well had been dug, the ministry was primed and ready to flow and Children’s Ministry was birthed at NCWC. I didn’t want the volunteer job. Who was I? I had no training, no education, etc. to develop a Children’s Ministry program. Ugh! I’m trying to raise three kids while my husband is working a full time job and pastoring. Ugh! But I said yes and never regretted a moment of it. God has been so faithful along the journey.

Hopefully this article will inspire you to ask the Lord some questions, “Am I in agreement with NCWC mission statement? Am I called to Children’s Ministry? How can I serve you, Lord, in this area? What gifts and talents do I have that I can share or impart to the children?”

It was said that D.L. Moody had come back from a tent revival meeting where he reported that 2 1/2 people were saved. Whoever he was talking to replied, “You mean, two adults and one child?” D.L. Moody responded, “No, two children and one adult. When you save a child, you save a life—a whole life.” Nearly 80% of people in our churches today decided to follow Jesus before age 18. 50% of them decided to follow Jesus before age 12. In fact, it becomes exponentially uncommon and exponentially harder for a person to decide to follow Christ after age 18.

This shouldn’t really surprise us. In a statement that Jesus must have known would end up on the wall of virtually every children’s ministry in the world, He said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus wasn’t just commenting on what adults need to do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven or even insight into what the Kingdom of Heaven is all about; Jesus was telling us something fundamental about childhood. There is a season in a person’s life when they are most open to learning what it means to trust God. It’s a season—sometime between 4-14—when people are more moldable than they will ever be in their lifetime. It’s when people are forming their understanding of the world, of relationships, of love, of God.  It’s a season when people are impressionable. We should be intentional about ensuring that they get the right impression. What is rooted in the heart of a child is almost impossible to uproot in the life of an adult.

Albert Gage – 1922, who was an evangelist of youth stated, “God intends that we should win people in the days of their youth while their hearts are young and sensitive. But we are apt to let the springtime pass and then with great effort create a religious fervor by our own efforts and win men to Christ. We work hard, spend thousands of dollars and at the best get disappointingly small returns. We have waited too long. That which we should do is to work with God in His seasons.” Unsaved adults will always be among us and they will need environments designed to reach them, but a person is a child only for a short time. And in this short time, the entire course of a life can be altered. How many adult problems would be solved if every preschooler who entered our churches left knowing they have a Heavenly Father who loves them?  Or what if every elementary child moved to Middle School knowing they can place their trust in Jesus for every area of their lives?  Or what if every High School student graduated knowing their place in God’s story and having made a lifetime commitment to serving Christ. What if every college ministry developed that calling to a life service?  What if everything we did for children focused on winning them to Christ? What if everything we did was to equip them to love deeply, serve sacrificially, live holy, speak truthfully, and go globally? Don’t misunderstand what I am saying and that we are doing things wrong. We are currently in the process of shaping the future of the church in the children’s ministry of today. However, to go to the next level of taking our current children to a deeper level of intimacy with Jesus, equipping them to walk in the supernatural power and presence of the Holy Spirit at a greater level, and reaching more children in our community and region, it requires more volunteers giving of their time and talents to accomplish what God has prophetically spoken numerous times.

My prayer is that you respond to this article by taking your “Ugh” thoughts and open your heart to the Lord and ask Him why you feel “Ugh” towards Children’s Ministry. Sometimes it is fear (as it was in my case), sometimes it is selfishness (as it was in my case) and sometimes people aren’t called. No matter what your “Ugh” is, your gifts and talents can be poured into the lives of these precious children of NCWC. And above all, pray for our children and youth and pray for those who serve sacrificially for the next generation.

Karen Haler
Children’s Ministry Director

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