It is amazing to think that it has been one year since “normal” life and ministry was suddenly uprooted. For some of us, we are essentially in week 52 of a “two-week lockdown to flatten the curve.” What has it meant for those of us who are committed to the comprehensive discipleship of the next generation? Adaptability for one thing. Personally, the events of the past year have sharpened my focus and zeal, knowing that whatever the circumstances, the end goal is still the same and almighty God is still at work. That said, here are a few reflections from the past year.
General Observations about Children’s Ministry
- Parents really need the church to inspire, encourage, pray for, and equip them for discipling their children. Many churches have done a great job this past year but far too many parents are experiencing isolation from the body of Christ, overwhelmed in their parenting, and they feel ill-equipped. The cracks have become more evident due to the disruptions from COVID. How can we better serve parents even after a return to normal ministry programs? Read more. Teaching children in person, face-to-face, is far superior and more life-giving to both teachers and students.
- The best discipleship is both doctrinal (teaching truth) and relational (living truth) in nature. Our children have gotten more time to really observe this in us this year as we ourselves have navigated various trials and challenges. What did they see and hear?
- Prioritizing biblical teaching over “fun activities” in our classrooms and ministry programs is essential if our children are to flourish in difficult times. Read more.
- Going deep into God’s divine character and providing children with a robust doctrine of God’s sovereignty is a must! Read more.
- We need to be more zealous in praying big, bold, biblical prayers for the next generation. The world is in upheaval. Our children need mighty prayer warriors! Read more.
- Now more than ever, I need to be a Psalm 78 witness to the children in my life.
Evidences of God’s Grace
- Many families have prioritized spending more time together in the Word, devotions, and spiritual discussions. This is bearing fruit for the entire family. Read more.
- Many children are experiencing a greater desire for Christ and growing in faith as they confront “scary” realities and unsettling changes.
- Parents and children are seeing more clearly the empty promises of this world and being increasingly drawn to the all-satisfying promises of God. Read more.
- There is a renewed longing and appreciation for gathering together as the body of Christ. The corporate worship service has never been so sweet and uplifting—even for the children in my own local church! The children enter the church with huge smiles!
Things to Continuously Remember Moving Forward
- There is nothing new under the sun, even though it sometimes feels like it.
- This broken world is not our hope or our final home.
- There are things to fear much more than viruses. We need complete and everlasting “immunity” from God’s righteous wrath offered to us by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone! In that eternal hope, we can live without fear! Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
- God is accomplishing His wise and perfect purposes in the midst of the world’s chaos.
- Scripture memory is an essential lifeline and not just an optional add-on. Read more.
- We need to plan wisely for the coming ministry season, but we must hold our plans loosely. “If the Lord wills, we will do such and such.”
- We need to inspire, refresh, encourage, equip, and train our ministry volunteers as we move forward. It’s been a really hard year for most of us. We might need a little “jump start.” Read more.
- God is faithful. His promises are sure always and forever, no matter what the circumstances.
- God is sovereign over the soul of every single child in our homes, churches, and classes. We are called to “plant and water”—but God is the one who will bring new life and growth. Neither lockdowns, nor restrictions, nor anything else can stop the almighty work of the Holy Spirit!