Lead Pastor Guest Post: My Trip with the Kids
I fondly remember living in Ohio and driving to Massachusetts with our three kids. The twelve hour trip through Cleveland, Buffalo and Erie, Pennsylvania, was often an adventure, but it was enjoyed by all. Today, I find I am once again on a trip with the kids but one of a different nature.
I have never been a kid guy. I am a nerd. I like to read books with no pictures, and icky, sticky and goo are not my idea of fun. I am by nature an introvert. I would rather be holed up in my library with my books than be anywhere else. But things are stirring in me of late. God has been speaking to me. I hear Him saying, “Step out and I will change you.”
My first “step out” was to get up from the front pew before the service where I would normally spend time in preparation. Instead, I went around shaking hands. The people noticed a change in me almost immediately and even in my preaching. Remember, I am not a touchy feely guy, but I have even started to send out e-mail prayers to the people in my church. I am changing slowly.
As I said, I have never thought I was a kid person. I did not like the noise and the chaos. I like it quiet. But, God is giving me a burden for kids. I grew up in a Christian home. I was surrounded by church from my first week of life, so when I heard about the 4/14 window, my heart broke. I saw a whole generation of kids growing up without Christ and without hope. So, I decided we had to do something.
Our church leadership started to change. From the youngest child to the high school senior, we wanted to reach them all. And, God is showing us how ministry to kids can contribute to the overall ministry of the church. When parents see that you love their kids, they see that God loves them as well. Just the other day, a mother from our girl’s craft class said to my wife, “I can see that you really love my kids. We might start coming to your church.” A very positive seed has been planted.
Our church has started three new groups for kids. The younger ones attend “Seekers in Sneakers”. The amazing thing about this group is that it was not my idea. Two women in the church came to me and asked if they could start it. The second group for middle school kids is called “K.I.C.K.”(Kids in Christ’s Kingdom). This group is also run by a woman in our church. After years of frustration trying to sustain a youth ministry, we now have a solid group with 7-8 kids (remember we are a church of 50). The third group is for high school kids. Again, for years, we have struggled to reach this age group. It is called F.A.C.T. (Frederick Alliance Church Teens) and is run by a man in the church with no direct involvement from me. But, that was soon to change.
God said to me “Don’t run it, but don’t ignore it.” So, I started doing the games for the KICK group. I did the game and then left the class with the teacher, but this would not stand either. God said “Don’t leave.” So, I went in the classroom and sat on the couch where God spoke again, “Get off the couch and get on the floor.” So, I creaked and cracked and I got on the floor. The class ended and one of the boys was walking by me and God said (really) “Tackle that kid.” So I did. What a great time we had! Soon all the other boys were piled on! When the parents came in, you could hear them laughing. We had a lot of fun, and now I am a part of the group. I am not just the pastor who stands on the platform. I am the guy who wrestles and plays with the kids!
We have made 2014 the year of kids ministry. I am excited about the future! If a nerdy, non touchy-feely guy can do this, then anyone can. Just start imagining more for the next generation and see what God might do!