“Is This the Best Thing for Our Kids?”
When we as a children’s ministry make any decision, whether it’s what the next weekend series will be or where to place a new volunteer, we always begin by asking one important question, “Is this the best thing for our kids?” Now that may seem like a no-brainer but after 3 1/2 years of directing our children’s education department I’ve noticed that this is much easier said than done.
In my time here, I’ve had to make several decisions that were...let’s just say...less than popular. The reason? It wasn’t the best thing for our kids. If there is one thing I’ve learned from my Dad over the years, it’s that making choices based on principle will always serve you better than those based on popularity. I tell my team this all the time – I have to. It’s amazing how many things come up on a week-to-week basis that challenge this belief. Let me give you an example.
When I first came on, the vast majority of our 4 year old – 6th grade classes were taught by our volunteers. And although they were good, faithful people who had been teaching our kids for years, we knew it was time for a change. You see, it would have been impossible for us to achieve the level of ministry we were shooting for while relying on people who worked 40 hours a week somewhere else. I wish I could tell you that every volunteer gladly received this news and wholeheartedly bought into the vision we had laid out before them but that wasn’t the case. Although many of them stuck and are a tremendous help to us today, several got offended and quit. Even though it was the right decision and has proven out over the course of time, it was not a popular one. As children’s ministers, we are called by God to teach kids His Word and the best thing for our kids is that we start engaging them in the classroom and assume the role of pastor and shepherd, not just oversee or administrate.
Even though this decision wasn’t the most popular at the time, we knew it was right because it was based on a principle: Is this the best thing for our kids? When the answer to that question is yes, we know we are on the right track.
Now there have been other times we have made decisions based on this very same principle and the outcome was quite popular. Last October I was meeting with Stephen Posey, our Elementary Pastor, about the upcoming schedule for Kids on the Move. We got talking on the subject of kids bringing their Bibles to church and how it seemed they were using them more as seat holders than for following along with the message. As we discussed how to fix this problem, it occurred to me that the kids weren’t following along because they had no idea how to navigate through their Bible. It was time to put our principle to use. The best thing for our kids was that they learn the value of God’s Word, as well as memorize all the books of the Bible, so we began an 8-week series called “I Love My Bible”. As part of this series we gave each child a CD with a catchy song we wrote to help them remember all 66 books. The disc also included a message from Pastor Stephen explaining its purpose as well as asking parents to encourage their kids to commit the books to memory. (Click here to download the series)
Our kids absolutely loved it and so did their parents. At the end of the series, we gave kids the opportunity to earn a certificate for memorizing all the books of Bible. We handed out over 200 of them in one weekend (there were some interesting interpretations given by some of our younger kids, i.e. the book of Jonicles – Chronicles, The Very Kiss – Leviticus, and also Have A Cake – Habakkuk). I must say, we’ve received more pats on the back and recognition from that series than any other series we’ve done but honestly, that never entered my mind when we came up with the idea. We didn’t create this series for people to tell us what a great job we were doing. We didn’t write a song and give out a CD to gain popularity throughout our church. We did it because it was the best thing for our kids.
You see, there are times when choosing to do what’s best for your kids brings great recognition and praise but that can’t be what you aim for. There are other times when your decision isn’t popular, but you can’t let that hinder you. Either way, making choices based on principle will always serve you better than those based on popularity. In John 21:15, Jesus said to Peter, “Feed My lambs.” Making that your #1 priority will always be the best thing for your kids.