It is important to remind ourselves that we have an unfair disadvantage when it comes to ministering to children. Throughout the week, the children are under the influence of the school, the media (television, movies, DVDs, radio, etc.), the internet (email, social networks, chatrooms, etc.), and friends (both local like neighbors, school mates, etc. and global friends through text messaging, Twitter, etc.). Then, there are those few fortunate children who have parents that are influencers. We on the other hand have only an hour to an hour and a half each week to provide a spiritual influence and help establish a solid foundation for our boys and girls.
Sadly, most lessons are easily and readily forgotten. The information that we have provided vaporizes within minutes after leaving our classrooms and auditoriums. With us having a minimal amount of time and an enormous responsibility, we need to insure that the eternal truths that we are teaching need to provide an eternal impact!
How can we make our ministry produce lasting results? Paint a picture. It’s true … a picture does paint a thousand words. Back up the skits, object lessons and Bible verse with a picture that will seal the deal. This picture that I’m talking about is painted stroke by stroke as you create a word picture (otherwise known as a story). Through storytelling, the black letters of the Bible become red (and read) letters!
I saw this happen this weekend. In our Valentine’s Day message “Have a Heart for Jesus” this weekend, our team was doing a great job of teaching. The object lessons were right on target. Then, I sealed the deal as I told the story of the ten lepers healed by Jesus. Like you, I’ve heard and told this story a million, billion times. But, this weekend, I took the time to research so that I could paint an accurate picture of the leper’s dilemma and the problems that Jesus faced in reaching out to them. The severity of leprosy is really unknown to most people today. Now, in telling of Jesus’ great love to these lepers, the graphic details learned in my study coupled with each emotion expressed in my countenance and each strategically placed pause caused the story to leap off of the pages of the New Testament and become real and alive. The children sat spellbound as the “artist” used the brush of storytelling to paint stroke by stroke a picture on the canvas of the children’s minds. Our boys and girls will never forget this lesson.
What does story telling have to do with a blog dedicated to ushering in a move of the Holy Spirit? It’s quite simple. To many people (adults and children alike), the Holy Spirit is a great mystery. Many within our ministry haven’t a clue as to who He is and what He does. To rectify the situation, paint a picture, or even better, a bunch of pictures. Let’s stop just talking about Him. Let’s paint pictures of who He is and what He does. Make it a common practice in your services to honor Him and introduce Him to your children by telling stories about your relationship with Him. Tell accounts of the benefits of walking alongside Him. For example, just yesterday, Vickie and I were working on producing CDs for our upcoming conferences. For some strange reason, the teaching masters were no where to be found. We searched EVERY WHERE multiple times and couldn’t locate them. (I’m embarrassed because I know that you’ve never lost anything, right?) After an hour of searching EVERY WHERE, I turned to my son Aaron and said, “I’m going to ask the Holy Spirit for help” and then called upon Him to fulfill His assignment (John 14:26, 16:13). With God as my witness, within 30 seconds of talking to the Holy Spirit, I walked straight to the CDs. This is just one of many, many stories that I can tell about the benefit of walking with the Holy Spirit. Telling the story won’t take much time. In adding some humor by reenacting the drama of looking for the CDs and the frustration of time after time coming up empty handed, the story could seal the deal and be one that the children tell their parents.
Come on, let’s seal the deal. Let’s eliminate our children forgetting what we are teaching. Let’s paint some pictures. After reading this blog, start making this possible by taking a few minutes to list some attributes of the Holy Spirit and then another list of things in His job portfolio (empower us, make us stronger, teach us, guide us, show us things to come, bring things to our memory, enable our praying, etc.). Then, make a list of things that have happened in your life in which the Holy Spirit stepped in to do what only He could do. Then, start telling these stories. Each story will allow the Holy Spirit to be transformed from being a mystical force into a Person who longs to become a part of our daily lives.