The Heart to Teach!
Sometimes I wonder if I should be in Children’s Ministry every rotation, but I’m not really sure. Many of my fellow teachers feel like they need the sermons on Sunday to keep them strong spiritually. It’s funny, but I feel like I need to be with the children to keep me strong. I have often been more fruitful bringing people to church when I am in the Children’s Ministry. I’m not sure why, but it happens often enough that I think God is telling me to spend more time with the children.
Recently I was asked to help improve the teaching in the Children’s Ministry of my region. I have been a teacher in Children’s Ministry for over 30 years, and a professional teacher for 23 years, so I was encouraged by the request and felt well suited for it. I began by giving tips on keeping the children engaged. These included stressing the importance of positive behavior, management plans, careful lesson planning and being animated when teaching.
After several rounds of observations, note-taking, feedback and demonstration, I was surprised by the most common responses I received from the brothers and sisters whom I was coaching. Though they appreciated the effectiveness of my tips and support, they commented most on my attitude and enthusiasm for teaching the children. They pointed out that I knew the lessons, so wasn’t referring to the curriculum constantly; that they could tell I enjoyed sharing the Bible stories and the children were engaged with me in learning.
Reflecting on these comments, and after much thought and prayer, I believe the following has helped me be a more effective Children’s Ministry teacher throughout the years:
1. I prepare my heart for the children by using the lesson for my quiet times two or three times a week. I pray for insight to make the lessons fun and interesting for the children. Then I do it!
2. I see my time in Children’s Ministry as just that, Ministry. I think my first experience with the Children’s Ministry shaped that viewpoint for me.
The Children’s Ministry is not more or less important than studying the Bible with adults or counseling married couples. It is not something that “needs to be done” so “I have to serve” and endure it. It is my privilege to share the Gospel with the up-and-coming leaders of God’s movement. What can be more important to God than that?
No one should serve in the Children’s Ministry because of a guilty conscience, and this is not an attempt to convince anyone to serve. However, if God calls you to serve, then do it with a great heart. Similarly, we also need to continue helping each other to be more effective Children’s Ministry teachers.
I believe that God knows that the Children’s Ministry is not just for the children. Look at what Jesus said when the apostles did not want the children to get in the way, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” - Luke 18:16
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3.
San Diego, USA