Taking up the role of leading the kids ministry at my church was not something on my radar of plans for the future. But the push of the Spirit in my life over the past year or so has been to stop holding on to what God has so graciously poured into me, and start using those gifts and callings to serve others.
Last night I had a speech prepared to deliver to the group of families who came to our first Kids Ministry Parents, Kids and Volunteer Get Together. Although I’m trusting what needed to be said was said and God will continue to be gracious and use my weakness to accomplish his will, looking back over my notes, there was a lot I didn’t say. So I thought I’d share it here. It’s sort of a testimony of my own call out of comfort-lust to life by faith in Christ. And it is a call for others to join me in leaving self-made comfort for the joy of walking wherever Jesus leads.
I have been married for 25 years to my husband James and have two sons, Connor 15 and Ryland 14. I’m a nurse. And my home life is not Pinterest worthy. I love quiet and enjoy writing. I’m an introvert, so the small-talk of Sunday mornings and the business of reaching out to people to cast vision and hear their stories and expend energy bearing the burdens of others who’s lives are at least as messy as mine, is Jesus at work in my life.
Without Jesus, I wouldn’t love God or people. I love my own peace and comfort more than I love others.
Without Jesus I might be nice to people I really hate so as not to disturb my own comfort but I wouldn’t really love them.
Without Jesus I might be a philanthropist, giving tokens to people in need to increase my own comfort and protect myself from my need for Jesus, but I would never lay down my life for them.
Without Jesus I wouldn’t really love my husband or children- I’d do whatever I had to do to protect my comfort.
But Jesus has destroyed my illusion of self-made comfort. He’s led me out here to scary places where people and their problems are, but also where faith in him is.
There’s two main ways I see that Jesus has done this in my life: through his word and his people- especially older people.
Over the years God has used the Bible and older women in my life to help me hear and see this Jesus I have never seen or heard. Reading my Bible and asking it questions, praying for answers, regurgitating what I’ve read with others and praying even more has given me an appetite for the things of God and an ear to hear what he sounds like. And it’s been the church, especially older women in the church, who have come along side me in my day-to-day life and helped me see what Jesus looks like. These older women discipled me and what they’ve poured into me is a treasure I want to pour out on others.
It’s my prayer that as we at Valley Life Church seek to make disciples, and help parents raise kids who love Jesus, God would use his word and his people to draw us out of self-protecting comfort into living by faith more and more.
Our mission at Valley Life Church Surprise in Kids Ministry is: Help parents raise kids who love Jesus. And if you notice, that means kids ministry is really parent ministry. Yes we teach kids for an hour or two on Sunday, but that is just a tiny piece of the mission we have. And the way God has laid out for us to help parents raise kids who love Jesus is by the older folks, as Deuteronomy 6:6 says, having God’s message on their hearts, and by those older folks teaching the younger folks the things God has said and done.
In Deuteronomy, Moses told the adults in Israel to love God with all their hearts and teach their kids what God had done for them and to show them his ways. He told them basically, “Hey, you have seen what God has done for you! This new generation has not. You must tell them!”
The psalmist in Psalm 71 cried to God to strengthen him so he could tell a coming generation the wonders of all God had done.
Jesus told us to let the children come to him and to welcome them in his name.
Paul, in the letter to Titus told the “older” men and women in the church to teach the younger how to follow Jesus and love their spouses and kids.
And so this is central to my main focus this year for kids ministry: That in 2019 we would help parents raise kids who love Jesus not just on Sunday, but by forming relationships of older to younger and welcoming each other into our lives throughout the week.
There is a group of senior adults at Valley Life Church who would tell the younger parents they attribute all of their hope to the grace poured out on them through Christ. They would come along side these parents and encourage them, pray with them, give them wisdom and good counsel and just be there for them. And we need them!
I have had the great privilege of having older women in my life over the years and I know God used them to help me endure living by faith. It’s my prayer that the younger families at Valley Life Church will connect with these folks. They won’t regret it.
Our mission- help parents raise kids who love Jesus- if you notice is really parent ministry. Yes we teach kids for an hour or two on Sunday, but that is just a tiny piece of the mission we have.
All this was on my heart last night as I stood before volunteers, my community group of older adults, noisy toddlers and their parents trying to look at me and listen while keeping their little one’s safe. And it’s on my heart this morning as I leave for work with the geriatric population laying beds at the hospital. It’s a prayer resounding in my heart constantly these days, that God would raise up the senior saints in his church to turn and tell the coming generation His mighty deeds; and that the young families in our churches would turn and listen to the silver-headed folks in their churches and communities who have a testimony of God’s faithfulness we need to hear.