This was originally an email written to the Grace Kids ministry team, but it shows the heart of our team so I wanted to share it here . . .
Hi, everyone! For Lent this year rather than "giving something up", I felt that I needed more to commit to a dedicated time of reading each day in the office. It is easy to come in and get in a "tizzy" with all of the plannng and people things that need to be done and the days just slip away. With that said, I wanted to share with you one of the nuggets I discovered this week . . . .
The chapter I was reading started off by asking what benefit do our children get from going to church/Sunday School over, say, worshipping at home as a family on Sundays. Or what about a baby in the nursery? Is that really important? Does it matter to a child's faith development at such a young age? The truth (and the goal) is that every activity is "grounded in the belief that we are sharing our faith". We should think of our teaching opportunities as invitations to children to come and soak up some of our faith in Jesus.
When we plan a party or other event where we invite people, there are always preparations to be made - the cleaning, the menu, the entertainment, etc. The same is true with our class planning. We want the room to be in good order, we must have a solid (Biblically based, relevant) plan, children deserve engaging activities. But the point of the party is not the menu and the entertainment. Those things only serve to point to the reason for celebrating - the birthday, anniversary, new baby, etc. In the same way our lesson planning and activities are merely the means to an end - the celebration of the Good News of Jesus and who he is to us!
What a privilege to have a captive audience with whom to share our faith each week! I bet your neighbors and co-workers don't come bustling in for an hour each week to hear you tell them everything you can about the God who made and loves them, but that is exactly what we, as teachers, get - kids who are ready to absorb everything we teach them (on purpose or not) about God.
Wow! Let's not pass up the opportunities that we have to take this captive audience and point them to Jesus! Let's us every means available! Let's employ all of their senses! Let's model in word and deed the love that can only come from God!
Then when someone asks "Does it really matter if my kids are in church this Sunday or Wednesday?"; we know that with God's help we can faithfully answer "Yes, they are invited to a celebration and they won't want to miss it!".