Five characteristics of a Kid approved children’s volunteer!
“ But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”Matthew 19:14 nlt
Before coming to Illinois I had a few people ask me what my part was going to be at New Life. Honestly my only plan was to show up, see where I could be used and wait on God to move. He moved at a quicker speed than I had expected. I have recently been given the opportunity to oversee the children’s department at our New Life Washington campus. I am in my element to say the least. This is a dream I honestly never allowed myself to dream. It’s crazy how when you choose to follow God He makes the desires of your heart, the desires you never allowed yourself to have come alive. It’s crazy how when God calls your husband He is calling you too. When presented with the opportunity I was excited. I never gave something like this more than one thought. I never imagined being enough for a position like this. I don’t have what it takes was my very first thought. I played around with the idea but honestly it took me a while to admit that this is something I am passionate about. At dinner with a friend, I couldn’t stop talking about ideas I have, things the kids deserve and ways we can encourage the volunteers. My friend said “You got to do this!!!” I realized that night that children are my heart. It’s funny because I called her to meet for dinner to discuss something coming up in the far off future but at some point during dinner God took over. He loves to be in charge! He changed our conversation. That was that! Here we are! The truth is I’m not enough. No one in children’s ministry is ever enough but God is. I’m honored with this opportunity and I don’t take it lightly. I’m scared. I think I have that God fear thing people say you should have. I have so many fears running through my head. This position I have accepted is far bigger than me. I need Jesus! Here is one thing I do know. After working with kids at church and school for the past 12 years I know a thing or two about what they approve of in a volunteer. They really aren’t too picky. I’ll start there. Here are 5 characteristics of a kid approved children’s volunteer.
1. A children’s ministry volunteer brings peace!
The church should be a peaceful place a kid gets to go each week.
You get to be part of keeping it peaceful.
I was young in elementary school. We were handed a coloring sheet. I chose one color and scribbled all over the paper. Maybe I was being a little turd! Maybe I was hard to deal with. I definitely had my share and your share of energy. Whatever the reason my sunday school teacher took the paper from me, ripped it in two and threw it in the trash. I was handed another coloring sheet and told to not scribble this time. I don’t think that was the correct response to the phrase what would Jesus do? I didn’t dare cry though! I was too scared. I definitely did not want to go back. Maybe he was having a bad day? Its possible, but your bad day is never a child’s fault.
Make church for kids peaceful by…
1 Being positive
2 Avoiding conflict between children
3 Demonstrate Love love love
AND NEVER THROW THEIR ART AWAY!
2. A children’s ministry Volunteer is excited to show up!
We don’t always feel it but we have to show it! The kids will remember how you make them feel. By showing up excited you are shaping a long term attitude toward church for them.
When I was in the 5th grade I had two fantastic Sunday school teachers. Karen and Judy. They came prepared with the most engaging and funny stories, fun activities, words of wisdom and most importantly hearts of love. Looking back on my children’s church experience I remember these two ladies most and I strive to be the volunteer they were during my time as their student.
How to be excited:
1 Laugh with the kids!
2 Have fun with the kids!
3 Just act like a kid and you are good to go!
3. A children’s ministry volunteer is faithful.
A children’s volunteer shows up even when they are not feeling it. In children’s ministry it is important that the kids know they can count on you being there. You might be the only stable relationship in their week. How many individuals in their life did not show up this week? Don’t be one of the count!
My wonderful 5th grade Sunday school teacher told us a story one time that really stuck with me. She said how there have been times in her life that she wanted to stay home from church so that she could get the laundry done, clean the house and relax. Have you been there? I have! Judy went on to say that anytime she fell victim to this mindset that she regretted it. She told us that every Sunday she skipped church she never got the laundry done, house clean and she didn’t feel more relaxed. However, when she decided to show up to church even when she wasn’t feeling it she left with more energy and the ability to get more done.
Every time I want to stay in bed and not show up. I CAN’T! Her voice pops up in my head reminding me that I will regret it! Every time I want to text and say I can’t serve today I think of Judy and her story. I pull myself out of bed, I show up and this is something I will never regret.
IF YOU ARE SICK I AM NOT TALKING TO YOU! DON’T BRING YOUR FLU TO CHURCH!
The enemy always wants to make us tired on our week to serve. Fight the tiredness and remember you have kids waiting to be loved by you.
4. A children’s ministry volunteer is interested in their life.
These kids want to know you care. They love it when you talk to them. They love hearing your stories but they also want to tell you their stories. They want you to ask them questions. They will tell you a lot of things. Things that are funny, parts of their life that will make you proud and parts that will break your heart. Be prepared to have your heartbroken in children’s ministry. Not only do they want you to be interested in their life but they want you to pray for them. Don’t be afraid to stop and pray for each of them by name!
Make each child feel like they are a 10 and like they are the most important person in the room.
5. A children’s ministry volunteer is part of the children’s salvation story!
It’s easy to think that if we don’t pray the salvation prayer with the child then we had nothing to do with their salvation. However this is furthest from the true. Everything you do that points the children to Jesus is part of them coming to know Jesus and asking Him to live into their hearts.
My Aunt Sandy is a big part of my salvation story. She was also one of the volunteers in children’s church the year we lived in Springfield. She taught me many scriptures The first scripture she helped me memorize was
“I will keep my angels in charge over you.” Psalms 91:11
The scriptures that she challenged me to learn pointed me to Jesus and helped me understand His love. No! She didn’t lead me in the salvation prayer, but she definitely had her part in it me coming to know Him. As a parent, teacher, a children’s ministry volunteer, in any involvement you have with kids you are part of their salvation story.
We were on the playground at school. An ambulance comes speeding by, lights on and engine blaring. 24 kids run to the gate to watch. They were excited. However, I watch and listen as one little boy raises his hands to the sky and prays “Jesus thank you that you are helping them.” I thought to myself. Wow! This little boy. “This 4 year old must go to a fantastic church with a fantastic children’s ministry. They are really teaching him how to pray for others and trust in Jesus.” You get to be part of that story. You get to teach kids to pray. You get to teach Kids that they can trust in Jesus. You get to instill compassion in young hearts. And you don’t have to be part of a huge church to do this either. Just show up where you are at. You are more than a babysitter. You are a difference maker. You are never wasting your time or missing out when you serve. You are part of changing the future for many kids. Ellie gets so excited each Sunday to go to church. She knows she gets a donut, gets to play with friends (AKA: her teachers) and most importantly in her words “I get to talk about Jesus.” It does not take much to get a child’s approval. All it takes is love