Feelings. We live in a time where feelings dictate behavior. And it has become acceptable in our culture. Many of our youth does not seem to feel like God meant what He said. Dress modestly? I don’t feel like it and God would want me to be happy. Sexual preferences and gender identity? I feel this way and God would want me to be happy. Worship the way God says? But I feel like God would like it this way better because I can get into the service better this other way. Love your neighbor? But he has stolen from me twice and lied about it. Surely God doesn’t mean for me to love a sinner like that? Regardless of what scripture may say, many of our youth have developed an attitude that our feelings outweigh obedience.
Yes, our awesome God wants His children to find happiness, but not happiness of the world. Not a self-centered happiness, but one with a servant’s heart. Here are just a few verses of hundreds that tell us what our God expects, and selfishness is absent.
- “The greatest among you will be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11)
- “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
- In 1 Samuel 15:22, Samuel tells Saul that it is better to obey than to sacrifice. Our God wants obedience, yet our youth are more focused on how they believe God wants them to feel. They’ve made this life all about them, not God. So how do we turn this backwards way of thinking around?
We have a problem, now how do we fix it? It will not happen overnight, but we can teach the next generation, our children. It’s important that we teach them how much God loves them and wants a good life for them, but this good life comes with obedience. We should reinforce often God’s desire for obedience and share the many bible stories that teach this. They are everywhere! Saul grew impatient waiting for Samuel so he offered the sacrifice before going into battle and this act of disobedience cost Saul his kingdom. Yes, we could easily see how Saul justified his decision just like we often do with our own choices today, but God expects obedience. Then there is Daniel. He chose to obey, praying to God in spite of an earthly law and God closed the mouths of the lions keeping Daniel safe. We can show this point in just about every biblical account beginning with Adam and Eve. Take the time to do this and explain to our children that it is clearly not about what we feel, but what God asks of us.
Need ideas? Take a look at my curriculum (FREE) and use as is or just for ideas. (More to come.) The goal is to reach our children with the God’s Truth, teaching our kids to KNOW God, LOVE God, and SHARE God with others.
I had no idea so many people felt alone and discouraged in children’s ministry until I started scrolling through one of the KidMin Facebook feeds. Wow! Our children are the future of God’s church and those leading them are feeling discouraged at this incredible work. Training them up in the Lord is a calling, a gift and it is sad to hear so many are feeling down about it.
What is causing this? My guess, not enough support or encouragement from others, but remember, we work for God and His glory, not man’s. Easier said than done though, right? What can we do about it? First, and probably most important, pray. After that, remember this ministry is a gift and you are imparting God’s word into the lives of children. Here are a few suggestions they may help you when you need that extra push.
- Create a “WIN” wall. Take notes of each “win” you notice. Colorful index cards are good for this. With kids, it’s often in the little things. For instance, this past Sunday after Bible class, one of my kindergarteners ran up to me to and asked if we’d be meeting again in a certain room that day. She was excited about our Bible Science night on Wednesday and had been just that week. She was ready to go again. This is a win! When a child is excited about a bible event. Another recent win was having one of my fifth graders asking if we could have a bible movie night this summer before school starts up again. She wanted to spend time watching a biblical movie with her church friends before moving onto sixth grade. Another win! Write these things down on index cards and hang them where you see them daily. This is encouraging when you see your work paying off. And imagine how encouraging it is to look back a year from now at all the “wins” you have had.
- Parent Help. Parents want to raise their kids to have a relationship with Christ, but often just don’t know how. When they realize you are their partner, not just another person occupying their child’s time for an hour a week, they appreciate you. Let them know what you do with their kids each week. Send out an email update each Monday that tells them what you taught their kids that week along with the scripture reference and a suggestion for a simple way they can reinforce this at home. They may not always do it, but they appreciate it.
- Bible Trivia. Ask the kids some questions about previous lessons. When they remember what you taught them, when it really sunk into their memories, that is encouraging! It keeps me going for sure. I usually cannot wait to tell my husband what they remembered. I get so excited when they remember little details from things we learned months ago. And if they aren’t remembering, this is a great opportunity to adjust what you are doing. I am continually tweaking my methods to get a better response. I want these kids to know God, to love God and to share Him with others!
- Join a Children’s Ministry Group. Whether a local group or online, join a group of like minded individuals who share your frustrations and your triumphs. Learn from each other. God gave us friends because He knew how much we would need them.
I know. These suggestions are not going to make everything better, but they help. Sometimes, all we need is to know we are not alone and be reminded of what is at stake. I’ll leave you with these thoughts from God:
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. -Psalms 16:8
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. -Psalms 55:22