Umm…It’s not Monday. But #KidMinTuesday doesn’t have the same ring to it. Here’s the post…
Oh, sure…If I were to ask you, some of you would pretend that you love all the kids in your Kid’s Ministry equally. They are all precious little gifts from God. You might even say it with a straight face.
But that would make you a lying liar pants!!
If we were all to be honest, we would admit that there are kids in our ministries that are tougher to love than others. When they don’t show up, you know the night is going to be smooth. But when you see them saunter up to the front doors of the church, you can’t help but sigh and wonder how much riot gear costs on Amazon. Sometimes these kids can simply be defiant and hard-to-handle, while others have a diagnosis that creates problems with relating to others and behaving appropriately. Sometimes they are just too cool for Sunday School.
Whatever the reason, we can acknowledge that some children make our ministries messy. Few things are ever straightforward in Children’s Ministry, but some children have a knack for making things harder for you, your volunteers, and the other children.
In one church, we had three such brothers. We’ll call them the “Smiths”. They were constantly fighting with each other. They would steal stuff. They would break things. Many of our younger students learned colorful new swear words from the “Smiths”. They ate up most of our energy and time, and all of our patience. We had to allocate valuable volunteers to shadow the Smith boys all evening. I even had volunteers suggest that we budget for Tasers. The Smiths made our ministry messy.
One night as I watched their mom drop them off, I rolled my eyes. Here we go again! My patience was at it’s end, and I was going to read the riot act to these hooligans. They’ll know who’s boss. I might even swear at THEM for once. As they climbed out of the car, I remember God smacking me in the back of the head.
He began to remind me that these boys are from a broken home. They have no father figure in their lives, and their mother loves them but lacks parenting skills. They are fending for themselves at home. They are bullied at school, and every single authority figure in their life is constantly angry and yelling at them.
Yet they come to your church every single week. This is the one place where they feel accepted and safe. Every other adult, except the leaders of this children’s ministry, treat them with disdain and frustration. But they love it here. They feel safe. There is no other place where they experience the love of Jesus, and the care and concern of adults. “You are a gift to them, and they are a gift to you.” I felt Him say. “Don’t blow it! I love them, and you’d better love them too.”
As the Smith’s came through the door and walked past me, I saw them in a different light.
“Hey, boys!” I said. All three Smiths turned to look at me.
“I’m glad you’re here”.