Apr 9, 2012

What's Wrong With This Picture?




I chuckle when I see paintings of Jesus with the children based on Matthew 19.  Who do you think these pictures were drawn by?  Not someone in Children's Ministry.

Children's Ministry is a lot messier than this picture portrays.  Why do you think the disciples wanted to send the children away?  I doubt the kids were sitting down quietly.

This picture should have a boy climbing the tree while his mother shouts for him to come down and sit still...two little girls giggling...a baby who is teething and crying...a preteen girl who is angry because her parents are divorcing...a child talking out of turn and distracting other children...a little boy filled with anxiety because his father has walked out on the family.

Jesus didn't say "Let the little children come to me if they are perfectly behaved and sitting quietly and have their Bible verse for the week memorized and come from a good family and have straight A's in school and get along with all the other kids."  

The children in your ministry who don't have it all together...the children in your ministry with behavior issues...the children who say four letter words they picked up from home...the children who don't fit in with the other kids...that's who Jesus wants you to love and minister to.  That's who He would be surrounded by. 

May our Children's Ministries reflect a true picture of the heart of Jesus.

This post was inspired by my wife who shared this thought with our team this past week.

10 comments:

So true! And so relevant to us as we work in the 10th poorest county in the nation, with at-risk kids. We had a day camp last week (over spring break), and I can tell you that most of the time they were not quiet, respectful, or sitting still.

But we know that it was a good time, and though we were exhausted, we know it was well worth it.

Fabulous post...we talk about this often in our ministry...Kids with special needs often struggle with the kind of behavior required to be "picture perfect." BUT...Jesus loves them and wants their company just as much! Thanks for this.

Great word!.. By the way... Where are the parents?... the picture sort of paints them out of the picture which works.if Jesus is gonna stay right.there with those kids till the parents get through shopping im the bookstore. We are loving not just kids with problems bur parents some of which kinda enjoy being out.of the picture a bit. Thanks for challenging my heart.

Ken King
Austin Tx

I totally agree with what you are saying but just a side thought as to who is drawing these pictures. I lived in Africa for almost nine years and you would of seen kids sitting quietly there for a long time listening. I never saw the extreme behavioral problems I have here working in America. Just an interesting observation. But I do agree this is what our reality is here and we have to do whatever it takes to reach them.

Great thought Ken...I agree. What happens at home spiritually is just, if not more, important than what happens at church.

Great insight about kids in other cultures. I do believe kid's attention spans are affected by the amount of media exposure, technology, video games, etc. they are exposed to...which will vary from culture to culture.

Seth Godin recently said we will continue to hear the words "It's too long" more and more as attention spans get shorter and shorter.

Sorry but I just want to say that I'm pretty sure that this picture shows how any child will act when Jesus is by them. They are going to be calm because the children will be able to realize who Jesus is and will know how to act when they see him. Your just basing the how they will act on how children are acting now, in the real world, but i know that children will act the way that this picture is portraying it when they see Jesus.

I LOVE this post!! Spot on!! Every child development professional will tell you that children learn best through experience and play. Where did we get the idea that they were sitting on Jesus' lap? Only thing in scripture is that He laid hands on them. I've always envisioned Jesus, understanding how kids are wired, would have pure joy in experiencing life with these kids and seeing their joy!

Quite honestly, the first thing I saw wrong with this picture was the fact that everyone in it is white - including Jesus. I believe that Jesus calls to ALL of us in the world, and most of humanity is NOT fair skinned. What message does this send to our young ones when all they see are kids who look like them OR kids who don't look like them at all.
Oh, and I totally agree with your behavioral analysis! Much as I would love to hope that all the children would be calm for Jesus, I think he might also want them to be themselves. And that includes climbing trees and feeling sullen!
Thanks for the post!

Such a great point Michelle. Thanks for sharing. You might enjoy this post on diversity.

http://www.relevantchildrensministry.com/2012/09/does-your-childrens-ministry-champion.html

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