It’s a sad day for the Burns’ household. One of our favorite television shows The Closer has its next-to-last episode tonight. For however many years, Vickie and I on Monday nights have either been watching the live episode or made sure that our DVR has been set to record Brenda Leigh Johnson solve what at first appears to be an unsolvable crime. Each week, we are amazed as we watch her team push aside circumstantial evidence and put together an air-tight case against the criminal. I know that next Monday, we’ll have the box of tissues ready as we bid The Closer goodbye.

Allow me to share something that I’ve learned from watching The Closer (and a host of other cop/detective shows) that will apply to your children’s ministry. Circumstantial evidence and hear-say evidence won’t hold up in a court of law. Cases presented with loosely formed evidence or evidence coming second- or third-hand will always be thrown out of court. To substantiate any claim of guilt, there has to be rock solid evidence that can be corroborated from an eye witness or evidence garnered from a touchable object.

How does this pertain to your children’s ministry? In most Sunday school classrooms and children’s church auditoriums, the audience (our boys and girls) who are gathered to be the jury and weigh out the evidence of our presentation (our lesson or sermon) are mere recipients of second-hand evidence. Few if any have ever witnessed evidence to substantiate the claims presented in the Gospel. And, due to the lack of sustainable proof, many children are sadly putting the teachings of Bible in the same category as fables and superstitious tales.

Children’s worker, how powerful is an eye-witness ministry? In Matthew 11:23 Jesus shares the power of witnessing the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit when He says that Sodom and Gomorrah would still be around today if they could have witnessed the mighty miracles performed in the cities about the Sea of Galilee. Later in His Great Commission in Mark 16, Jesus tells His followers to back up their teachings with evidence. Jesus knew that seeing IS believing.

I know that the walk of the believer is a life of faith. I know that the scriptures teach that the “just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17) and that we “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. But, each week, we stand before a courtroom of children formulating conclusions about whether or not they will walk with Christ after they leave our ministry. Is our evidence second-hand? Or, are there things that they can see and experience that will provide rock solid proof that we aren’t teaching fables and myths? What we teach and preach to the children can be and MUST BE substantiated with undeniable proof so that can know that they know that they know that Jesus is still the same yesterday, today, and forever. Let’s provide an opportunity for the children to be able to sing, “Look what the Lord has done. Look what the Lord has done. He’s healed my body. He’s touched my mind. He saved me just in time …” Then and only then will we have children who live for Jesus the remainder of their lives.