Sitting in a workshop today in Little Rock, Arkansas I heard a brilliant thought as to why people leave the church. It is really a revolutionary thought. I think it is something that everyone will benefit from once they wrap their brain around it…seriously it’s good.
Before I share the idea I want to ask a question: Do you know what is expected of you by the church? I think most of us can come up with a list of general expectations that come from the church. Stand up when everyone else does, pay your tithe, sing loud, be nice, Love God, Accept Jesus – so on and so forth. We know what the church expects of us; know the expectations are helpful – but knowing the expectations without knowing how to do the expectations will bring frustration and failure.
That was the brilliant thought – WE TEACH IDEAS WITHOUT GIVING PRACTICAL WAYS TO DO THEM! Tell parents that they must disciple their kids – but do we tell them how? We tell kids they need to be a disciple – but do we tell them how? If we aren’t giving tools for parents, teachers and kids what those things mean or how to do them then it’s never going to happen. Why�
Last night at church was a perfect reminder to me that kids need our time.
Our midweek service went well.
- A great praise and worship time.
- Fun large group game time. The kids loved it.
- A home-run lesson. The kids seemed to really understand and “get” what we were teaching.
Only one thing was a little off. One of our small group leaders was out of town on business, so I had to fill in to lead his small group. No big deal. The night was running smoothly with quick transitions. Everyone was having fun. Everyone except one 4th grade girl. On my way to lead the 2nd-3rd grade small group, she stopped me in my tracks and with a serious tone said, “Jen, can I ask you a personal question? Can we sit down for a minute to talk?” I could tell something was really bugging her, but I really didn’t have any time to give at that moment. I responded by saying, “Yes, but would it be okay to talk about it right after small group?” I was in a rush and I had to get to my group of kids. With my words, I showed that I care, but my actions showed that I was way too busy for her. Long story short, with the way that the evening turned out, I was not able to connect with her at the end of the night. I’ve been attempting to follow up with her today. God is showing me again and again that ministry is about people. Not about having the “perfect program”.
Time is every kid’s love language. Quality and quantity. It says, “I care about you.” “I’m listening to you.” “You are important to me.” “I know you’re having a problem, and I can pray for you… right now.” And when kids know that we care, it opens doors for us to lead them closer to Jesus.
How many opportunities have I missed?
Today, I am asking myself these questions:
- Do we have any free space built into our ministry to connect with kids? If not during services, when?
- Do we have enough leaders to effectively disciple kids? Do we have a good back-up plan?
- Are we being good stewards of kids’ questions and personal stories- even when it doesn’t flow with our lesson?
- Is our follow-up intentional?
- What can we do to maximize our time with kids to show them that we love them- and, more importantly, that Jesus loves them?
- How is your church doing in these areas?