Batter Up

I just came from a Little League baseball game where the 8-year-old kids clearly knew the game. The coaches and the fans in the stands were constantly offering strategy on how to play the game better.   “Keep your eye on the ball.”  “Play is at 2nd base.”   “Back up first.” “Wait for yours.” “Line drive up the middle.”   You know the drill – the constant calls of a summer ball game.     Along with the sounds of summer were also the non-verbal commands such as the pitcher and catcher sharing signals. These boys did not just learn the game yesterday – and obviously the coaches and the fans expected much more from each one of the players.

This morning I pondered how much training does the church offer kids regarding spiritual truths? Yes, they do hear all of the stories and learn right from wrong. Most of the time they do learn the basics; they are sinners and Jesus is their savior, along with the basics of praying and even some service. But how many learn how to listen and hear the voice of God and be led by His Spirit? How many learn they are equipped through the Holy Spirit to pray for the sick and expect results? How many are trained to fully enter into worship and have a God-encounter? Or are they bored in adult worship, not understanding it enough to participate? By the time they leave children’s ministry, are they passionate worshipers of God, being able to participate in both a children’s setting and an adult setting?  Could it be that in general the church thinks kids are too young for intimacy in worship? Perhaps they believe there is a “Jr. Holy Spirit” who is not capable of working through kids?   For sure most are thankful that there are workers who will take the kids to a far off room so they can worship without interruption or distraction.

In trying to recruit more children’s workers I would often hear two big excuses – I mean reasons – why people did not want to participate. 1) They wanted to stay in adult service where the move of God was and 2) They didn’t feel called to childcare. (In their mind, they probably meant babysitting.)

Just like the eight-year-old baseball players have been learning the game, the positions and the strategy for years, so we can train our church kids of the language, experience and significance of Christian service, worship, and discipline.

Research shows that by the time a child is 12-years old, they think they know everything there is to know about the Bible, and they are looking for another interest. From our “Evaluating the Church and her Children” course with Kids in Ministry we learn that, “By twelve or thirteen a person is who he is, and whatever he believes by then he will basically live his whole life and die believing those same things short of a cataclysmic move of God. “

With Kids in Ministry our goal is to give a child an opportunity to experience God and to practice what they learn. It starts with the games and plenty of kid stuff – but by the end of the time they are ready and given an opportunity to experience God.

Recently I got together with some kids ranging in age from four to eight. We were meeting outside.   After our games, fun worship and story time, we prepared to experience God and thank Him for what was learned and listen to Him.   We had more than the usual distractions. We could hear neighbors talking, one of our babies crying, and of course experience the temptation to run after the fireflies dancing near our faces. I told the kids, “Many times I get distracted when I want to spend time listening to God or practice what He is teaching me. It is a challenge to work through. Tonight we hear the baby, but we know he is OK with another adult.   We hear the neighbors, but we can ignore them. IF we shut our eyes and listen to the music – we can purpose to catch a firefly later.   SO – let’s just lay these distractions aside and break through to a special moment with God, our Father. “   To tell you the truth, I wondered how effected our ministry time would be, but it was worth giving them opportunity. I was delightfully surprised, when given the opportunity; the kids entered into worship and had a God encounter.

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Afterward, I asked the kids what they experienced. Most of them said “peace” or a feeling of comfort.

The point of my sharing this with you is that I want to encourage children’s workers everywhere to not sell their roll short. Just as we put an expectation on our kids when we train them in sports or even household chores, let’s also put an expectation with spiritual endeavors. Coach them with strategy and then wait on the Lord and let the Holy Spirit work in the lives of your kids.  Their life will be changed forever as you equip them at an early age.

As a parent or a children’s worker, if you are ready for new wine to impact our younger generation, please contact me, and I will either help you personally or introduce you to one of our other Kids in Ministry directors or trainers. You can find out more about our The School of Supernatural Children’s Ministry (SSCM) on this web site.   http://kimitenn.org/sscm/ I will help walk you through it and offer you a 10% discount.