A Letter to All Children's Ministry Leaders

Dear Children's Ministry Leader,

I'm not sure how and when you started serving in children's ministry.  Perhaps you were asked to fill-in for someone and the fill-in turned into all in.  Perhaps your child was in the classroom and you wanted to make sure he or she had a great experience, so you jumped in to help.  Perhaps a close friend asked if you'd help him or her.  Perhaps at the end of the new member's class, as you stared at the list of serving opportunities placed before you, you felt led to check the children's ministry box.  Perhaps you've always been a big kid at heart and it just seemed the natural place to be.  Whatever the reason, you are here. 

I know there are times when you wish you'd never started.  It would be so much easier to come in, plop down on the pew, without the stress of teaching a lesson sitting on your shoulders.  It would be easier to stay in the world of big people and not be bothered by the cries of a 2-year-old who has separation anxiety.  It would easier to enjoy your summer without having to spend a week of it helping at VBS.  It would be easier walking past the greeters instead of being one.  It would be easier to go shopping without having a list of craft supplies you have to pick up while you're at the store.  It would be easier to just pray for your own needs and not have to pray for the needs of the kids in your small group.  It would be easier to just sing in big church and not have sing songs that require you to do motions.

I know there are times when you wonder if you're really making a difference.  You wonder if teaching the class is really worth it.  You wonder if the kids are even listening.  You wonder if rocking that baby is really accomplishing anything of eternal value.  You wonder if the investment you're making in that group of boys will last beyond 5th grade.  You wonder if parents will ever use the take home paper you worked so hard to prepare.  You wonder if the preschoolers will remember the verse you tried to help them memorize.

I know there are times when you don't hear "thank you."  For some of you, it's been months or even years.  I know you don't serve for applause...but it encourages you when you know someone is appreciative of what you're doing...and it would be a breath of fresh air to hear it. 

Perhaps you've been thinking about throwing in the towel.  Maybe you've been telling yourself that it's someone else's turn.  Perhaps you've already got an end date in mind and you're just waiting for the right moment to tell someone.  Perhaps you're just waiting for the right person to come along who can take your place. 

I am writing this from my heart to yours.  First of all, I want you to know that you are not alone.  All of us in the fraternity of children's ministry either have or will feel just like you at times.  It's part of the journey.  The children''s ministry journey is not a straight line.  It's full of twists and turns.  Ups and downs.  Mountaintops and valleys.  Times of reaping and times of sowing.  There are times of joy and times of sadness.  Just remember, anywhere worth going is a struggle.

Secondly, I want to reassure you that you are making a difference.  You may see some of the fruit now...but most if it you will never see.  I think that's why more than any other ministry you can give yourself to, serving in children's ministry is a walk of faith over sight.  You are serving with the hope and prayer that the kids will carry what you taught them into their adult years.  Be assured, your fruit will remain.  Your legacy is being established.  What you are investing in the kids will outlive you.  One day, a man will tell people you were the one who made the difference in his life.  One day, a lady will tell her kids that God used you to change her life.  One day in heaven, there will be a line of people waiting to say "thank you" for telling me about Jesus when I was a child.

Thirdly, I want you to know that the best is yet to come.  God is not done with you.  Your influence in the kids' lives is not waning, it is expanding.  The final chapter in your children's ministry legacy has not been written, there is more to come.  It's not time to pass the baton, its time to grip it tighter.  You've come too far and invested too much to turn back now.  There are still kids God is going to use you to reach.  There are still parents God is going to use you to influence.  There are still lessons God is going to share through you.  There is still much He has for you to do. 

So take a deep breath.  Let the Holy Spirit blow a second wind into your soul.  Remember why you are doing this.   Let the joy that comes from serving in children's ministry flood over the hurts, obstacles and set backs and come rushing back into your spirit.  Turn your eyes back upon Jesus, the author and finisher of your service in children's ministry.  It will be worth it all when you look into His face and the faces of those He used you to impact. 

Your Fellow Servant,
Dale Hudson