by Vicki Noblitt
This month, Orange Leaders takes a look at Sue Miller’s book, Making Your Children’s Ministry the Best Hour of Every Kid’s Week. You can hear more from Sue Miller, live, at the upcoming volunteer training Live to Serve events in San Francisco, Ca., February 8; Grand Rapids, Mich., March 8; Memphis, Tennessee, March 29; as well as The Orange Conference, April 30–May 2 in Atlanta, Ga.
I have the honor and privilege of working each Sunday in an awesome children’s ministry, and so I know full well the power behind the proposition of this month’s book, Making Your Children’s Ministry the Best Hour of Every Kid’s Week. As a 4th grade coach, I have at least one conversation each Sunday with a tardy and rumpled, coffee-toting parent who tells me their child simply refused to let them sleep in.
Nothing could possibly make me happier than hearing a parent whining about such a dastardly problem!
If those aren’t the complaints you’re hearing, and if the children in your community—or even your own household—are letting you sleep in, it’s time for you to do something.
AMBUSHED BY GOD
Chapter 2: Imagine the Best Hour
If you’ve picked up this book there’s a really good chance you’re being ambushed by God to do something about your children’s ministry. If you’re like most people, your response to being ambushed starts with the word “too.” Let me guess: You’re too busy. The job is too big. The resources are too small. The obstacles are too overwhelming. Your church is too resistant to change. It’s too much work. You have too much to learn. . . .
The list is endless, right?
Here’s what I’m thinking: if you’re being ambushed by God, you’re in really, really good company. I’m betting that initially, Noah felt too land-locked. We know Abraham felt too old. Moses was convinced he was too marble-mouthed, and I’m pretty sure that at least sometimes Joseph felt too incarcerated. Yet God, the ambushing mastermind, took these “too-isms” and reduced them to rubble by using ordinary people—people who thought they had too little to work with—to do things that impacted generations.
DEFINE THE MISSION
Chapter 3: Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It. . . .
As with anything you hope to accomplish, it is best to start with the end result in mind. Fortunately, this has already been clearly defined in the Bible. The purpose of your children’s ministry is to produce devoted God-followers.
Statistics tell us that a person is most receptive to giving his or her heart to Jesus prior to the age of 14. After that, the likelihood a person will become a Christian plummets. Suddenly, the hour or so you have each week with your group of children takes on a sense of urgency and is, quite literally, the difference between life and death.
Because of the seriousness of the task at hand, you must define the components needed to accomplish your mission. These won’t be the same for every church but those listed in the book—grace, growth, groups, gifts, and good stewardship—are a good starting point for the discussion your ministry team must have to craft your mission statement and define your strategy.
As a word of warning, when you begin to write the mission statement for your children’s ministry, you’re going to be tempted to move on without one because they are actually quite hard to write! As stated at the end of Chapter 3, there are several very good reasons to persevere. A clear mission statement will:
- Provide guidance for the many decisions you’ll make moving forward
- Help you discuss your ministry with church leadership
- Let parents know what to expect from your program
- Indicate when a goal has been reached, so a celebration can be planned
Are you being ambushed by God to do something about your children’s ministry? If so, what are your “too-isms”?
Does what you know about God’s character change your response to being ambushed?
Is your program lacking direction? Are you feeling convicted to write a mission statement, or re-visit the current one? Check out the team activity for Chapter 3, which outlines a five-step exercise to help you reach “your finest hour.”
Though born in the Midwest, Vicki Noblitt resides in Atlanta, considers herself Southern, and firmly believes iced tea should be sweet. She is paid to be a Human Resources Manager, but her favorite roles are voluntary: wife, mom, grandmother, and Children’s Ministry Coach.