Before my transition to coach-consulting in 2001, I led several different ministry areas at Clear Creek Community Church. An unexpected season of leading the children's area engaged my love for vision around the importance of serving children. What I learned through this season has changed my life forever. I believe that children's ministry is THE golden opportunity for these seven reasons:
#1 The Golden Heart: Children model the ideal kingdom participant. Each of the gospel writers record that stunning moment when Jesus rebukes the disciples and tenderly engages some young children (Luke 18:17). In the face of self-importance, Jesus shockingly points to a child as the model for how to enter the kingdom. Maybe serving children holds unexpected benefit for Christian maturity?
#2 The Golden Years: Childhood is the most effective window for responding to the gospel. Eighty percent of people receive Christ between the ages of 4 and 14. Enough said.
#3 The Golden Glow: Children have a longer life to serve Christ and accomplish more for God’s glory. If you had a candle to burn for a nice romantic evening, would you choose the one that's three-quarters used up, or would you choose a brand new candle? (It makes you wonder why generally speaking, our children get so little attention in ministry leadership!)
#4 The Golden Baton: Serving children plants the gospel into the next generation. Yes, the gospel is always one generation from extinction. You choose if the race is all about your short window to live or the enduring story of global redemption.
#5 The Golden Gate: Winning a child is a gateway to winning the whole family. I can't tell you how many redeemed families I have seen on the beachhead of a child's testimony. And yes, the more our culture idolizes their children, the more we can leverage this negative tendency for the gospel.
#6 The Golden Moment: Children’s lives are moldable and full of teachable moments. There is nothing like the moment of awe and insight, when child learns or asks a genuine question. Play and plant in the rich soil!
#7 The Golden Crown: Serving children has a unique significance which leads to special blessing. In Matthew 25-31-46, Jesus shares the parable about serving, "the least of these." It's apparent that "the least" include people of some status or need where they cannot repay if they are served (hungry, sick, imprisoned, estranged, poor) Children, though not listed explicitly, certainly fit this list by virtue of their inability. I believe that serving children brings an unexpected treasure of blessing.
This post is dedicated to my beautiful fiancée, Romina Andreotti, who spent the last year serving 12, 2-year old children at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. Those kids are the most fortunate kids on the planet and I am grateful for her model of love and service that nourishes my own spirit.