But not now. The flowers have stopped blooming and there are no signs of life. It's branches are brown and crackly. We've left it there for several months, hoping it will come back. We'll see...but right now it doesn't look good.
The rose bush has been a good reminder for me of the importance of keeping the children's ministries we lead healthy and growing.
When you see a children's ministry that's growing, there are usually 5 things at play behind the scenes.
A growing children's ministry flows from the heart of a leader who has a vision to reach his/her community for Christ. The vision compels the leader and his/her team to never stop until every, single child and parent in their community is reached. Not satisfied with the status quo, they focus on the future rather than dwelling on the past. Great growth comes from great vision.
A growing children's ministry makes sure they are not hindered by the 85% rule. This rule basically says that when you reach 85% capacity, you will stop growing. Here's an example. If your children's ministry rooms hold 100 kids, once you are averaging 85 kids a week in that space, you will stop growing unless you create more space. This can be done by building or starting more services. Growing children's ministries keep a pulse on this.
It takes a lot of hard work to build a children's ministry. Growing children's ministries are committed to doing the hard work of preparation, planning, follow-up, excellent execution, cleaning and more. God doesn't bless laziness. Simply put...pray for a good harvest with the sweat running down the hoe handle.
A growing children's ministry has a growing team of enthusiastic, committed volunteers. As your volunteer base grows, your children's ministry will grow because kids are being cared for, ratios are being met and connections are being made.
Of course, all of the above hinges on the "God-factor." A growing children's ministry often wonders in amazement as they watch God move. They know without His anointing and blessing, all their efforts are in vain. This keeps the ministry humble and constantly seeking God and depending on Him. They plant the seeds...God grows the fruit.
Perhaps you are reading this and your children's ministry is currently like my rose bush. Not much happening. Be encouraged. Renew and expand your vision, make sure you have adequate space, work hard, grow your volunteer base, seek God's face...and watch your ministry begin to grow.