I’ve been paid to work in Kids Ministry for 6 ½ years --I say “paid” because I’ve been doing kids ministry since I was a kid—I just didn’t always realize it.
The funny thing is that I’m not what you would expect when you think of a “Kid Person.” I’m not a warm and fuzzy, hug everybody type of girl. I have an interior design degree, not an education one. I prefer jeans and a t-shirt over a dress or jumper--and I seldom have a cute bag or accessory to match what I wear. When my kids get hurt, I don’t cuddle them for very long before pushing them back out there (I wish I did this last one better, though). I’m not the fun mom on the field trip—I make the kids follow the rules (but my girls still want me to go on them, so I do).
In fact, if you look at the way I parent, you would probably not want your kids around me. I make LOTS of mistakes. I yell. I pout. I promise consequences and often don’t give them. My girls eat fast food more than I want to admit here. We watch tv…a lot. I am not patient—especially when bedtime rolls around. I could go on and on, but you get my drift.
I never thought I would work in Kids Ministry—even though I did it in elementary school, middle school, high school and even college. In fact, I chose a summer job at Pine Cove working with the little ones over the cool older kid camps—for 2 years!!! I don’t know why that never dawned on me—looking back, the writing was on the wall (CUE Darth Vader voice here: ”It is your destiny”).
I think part of the reason is because I always thought that meant it was all about kids. You’ve heard the saying “I was a great parent…then I had kids.” That’s me. What I didn’t realize back then is that Kids Ministry isn’t all about the kids. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s just as much about the adults and students who lead the kids as it is the kids themselves. Everything we do at my job, has an ultimate goal that kids would know Jesus better. In my opinion, the best way to do that, is to surround them with adults and students who love Jesus.
If I can pray over a leader, send them a book to help them parent better, thank their spouse for sacrificing each week, make sure I know their kids’ names, go see them or send them a note when they are sick o grieving or celebrating, then I think our kids will benefit from that. I think, when someone is poured into, they will, in turn, pour back out. And if they don’t? Then they were the ones who needed to be poured into—they just didn’t know how to ask.
I truly believe that leading kids is one way God grabs our hearts and points out stuff we wouldn’t get otherwise. I think it reminds us of how simple this Christian life really can be, if we don’t complicate it with a bunch of stuff and rules and shoulds. I’ll spare you the “everything I needed to know I learned in kindergarten” talk because I’m thankful I didn’t learn everything then. I’m thankful that God continues to open my eyes to things I have never seen.
And I’m thankful that he uses kids and the people who serve them to do that for me.