Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why We All Serve in Children's Ministry

Gulp... that's the sound of me, swallowing my pride.  :)

So, here's a little last night post-power-tools/construction conversation recap (That's right, I'm getting to be handy!):

Me:  "Babies --- [insert some fear and disdain-related sound here] (my response to my impending nursery duty)

Tony:  "You were a baby once.  You needed someone taking care of you."

So true, so true.

So, I'll be honest.  I'll say it.  I do not want to hang out with a bunch of babies.  I'm learning to love babies a bit more, but one's that are the newest to this world are so... little... and so... little... and did I mention... little?  And they squirm and cry and I can't control it.

But, as we're planting this church, we're "all hands on deck" because "we're the launch team".  That means we're all to serve in children's ministry.  Now, I like children.  When I chill with Keller children and we go on adventures, I consider it time hanging with friends rather than "babysitting".  And thanks to Joshua and Pastor Baby Mac I'm increasing my love for babies, as well, though slowly.  :)

However, despite this, I have been less than thrilled of this call.  I have been selfish and pouty, thinking, we're going to have double services soon, and that means double the time with babies, and not being in the service.  But I want to worship.  I want to rock it out.  I. Don't. Want. To. Hang. With. Babies.  <----And this, from someone who was a co-counselor at Kids' Camp in 2011.  :/  Uh-oh, sounds like someone is thinking a little too much like the baby she once was.  It's not about me anymore!

So, I was on a walk this morning over by Tipton Lake, and I thought about my attitude.  And I thought about God, who occupies my thoughts continually.  And I had been previously trying to reconcile this "duty" as a chance for me to learn about as many of the different ministries as I could.  But I was still less than enthused.  But, God kicked me in the but with scripture and with His Holy foot.  I needed it.  God never fails.  Keep on chiseling!  (ow...) 

It's time to get excited, because children's ministry is VITAL to the health of a church.  It's VITAL to the Kingdom of God.  And, in a way, all ministry is children's ministry.  And we aren't the only ones who have something to teach children; they have something to teach us as well.

I was a baby once.  Someone took care of me. 

Yes.  I was a baby once.  Both physically and literally, in the littlest (4 lbs,1 oz), neediest (premature) sense of the word.  And metaphorically... I was a baby once in my walk with Christ (I'm a toddler now!) I was squirmy and fussy and whiny and shook my little fist at God quite a bit in protest. (Sometimes I still do... hey, I'm a toddler... I'll nap when I want to, you can't make me!)  In both cases, people took care of me.  And I'm eternally grateful because I'm eternally with God as a result.  And that gratefulness that I have should be extended in outward action toward God's children (the small and the new).  I should be just as pumped about nurturing the babies of our church as I will be about nurturing those newest in their faith.

Don't laugh at me.  But, I've been looking at babies all wrong.  I haven't been looking at babies as a part of the church.  But, babies are a part of our church.  They aren't just babies - little squirming things.  They are the littlest, squirming members of our CONGREGATION, growing physically and spiritually along with the rest of us.  :)  They are the body of Christ.  They need care physically and spiritually... who doesn't???  And when I think about all the babies growing up without knowing the love of Jesus, I want to vomit.  We need to be praising God for every baby we have.

"Pastor Baby Mac"
Child of God and launch team member at Point of Change Church of the Nazarene

So I love Psalm 127:1-2, but always stop before I go on to the stuff about children.  But I know it's there, and God brought me to it as I walked around the lake: 

Psalm 127:3-5 "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!  He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."

I don't want to attempt to be exegetical or be hermaneutical or whatever, because I don't even know what those words mean ;)... But it says "children" not "your children" - it doesn't matter if the children are mine or not.  We're all in the family of God and they're going to be here long after I'm gone.  They're my heritage too, as far as Jesus goes.  I want the love of Jesus to continue, and the work of Jesus to continue, long after I'm gone.  That requires investing now.  Also "from the LORD" --- I know enough about God to know that I want to accept and treat with the utmost care and respect every gift and blessing he bestows on me.  Anything "from the LORD" warrants care and respect and love.

Deuteronomy 29:29 "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." 

Luke 18:16-17 "But Jesus called them to him, saying, 'Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it'." 

Ephesians 5:1  "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children."

1 Thessalonians 5:5a "For you are all children of light, children of the day..."

John 1:12:  "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God"

Matthew 18:2-6 "And calling to him, a child, he put him in the midst of thenm and said, 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."

I could go on and on. 

Search Biblegateway for children (I used ESV) and you get 458 results.  Clearly there's something here that God wants us to pick up on.  Children are gifts.  We have a responsibility to our children.  And all children are our children.  Babies and new believers alike...  And we are all children and need to come to our Heavenly Father in that capacity and mindset. 

Not only do we have a responsibility to them, it sounds like we have some stuff to learn from them as well.  They have a secret that we can forget or discard as we get older.  I know I did.  What if I had stayed the 5 year old who loved God, and honored that decision, and kept it that simple...?  What an adventure I'm having, reconnecting with her.  :)

And this is why we all serve in children's ministry.

See you on Sunday, July 29, after our launch team meeting, at the children's ministry meeting where we will here from Lisa Alvis.  See you all in the nursery as well (contact Jana Benjey for this opportunity).  This is our last night at Friends and Family, and our last evening.  We. Can. Do. It.  !!!!!!!!  God, who can feed thousands on a few loaves of bread and fish, can stretch money into ENOUGH, time into ENOUGH, strength into ENOUGH, energy into ENOUGH, talent into ENOUGH, you into ENOUGH, etc etc etc. 


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

This Is Happening

We have a billboard!


This.  Is.  Happening.

(In case you've been too busy to notice...let it sink would be good...this is happening.)

Thank you God for your your salvation, your love, your calling and continued provision. 

I was reading in Romans earlier and I liked this verse, so I thought I'd share:

Romans 11:29
"For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."

Amen.  And, goodnight.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Love Looks Like Something

The sermon series we had been doing recently was entitled "Love Looks Like Something" - and, for "Mama Heidi", a missionary in Mozambique, love looked like building a well.  What will love look like for Point of Change?

I think these past "marketing" activities we did on the 4th of July - passing out water bottles at Miller Park, for example, shows what love looks like for POC.  I overheard Zac, one of our launch team members, talking about "next year" when we did this, what we would do, etc.  (And "next year" we'll be a church, not a launch team!)  I loved that forward thinking!  This wasn't just a marketing event to get brand recognition.  It was also love.  A free bottle of water on the HOTTEST DAY EVER... love looks like something.  Loving your community can be that simple.  :)

What kept running through my mind that day was --- why weren't we doing this before?  Because this is awesome! 

I'm so excited that God is using our launch experiences to grow our character and compassion, and to teach us what we should be doing anyway.

Thanks for all your hard work, team! 

Alright well, keepin' it quick, today.  I've got a lot of other things to say, a lot on my mind, a lot of burdens... take it to the Lord in prayer :)