Last week, I shared some thoughts from John Wesley’s Advice to a People Called Methodist. As we begin this new year, I want to share another quote from Wesley taken from his message The More Excellent Way. Consider his observation concerning the gifts and workings of the Holy Spirit:

It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were common in the church for more than two or three centuries. We seldom hear of them after that fatal period when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian, and from a vain imagination of promoting the Christian cause thereby heaped riches, and power, and honour, upon the Christians in general; but in particular upon the Christian clergy. From this time they almost totally ceased; very few instances of the kind were found. The cause of this was not (as has been vulgarly supposed,) “because there was no more occasion for them,” because all the world was become Christian. This is a miserable mistake; not a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christian. The real cause was, “the love of many,” almost of all Christians, so called, was “waxed cold.” The Christians had no more of the Spirit of Christ than the other Heathens. The Son of Man, when he came to examine his Church, could hardly “find faith upon earth.” This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian Church — because the Christians were turned Heathens again, and had only a dead form left.

What does this have to do with children’s ministry? It is easy in children’s ministry to take the easy way and buy into fads and Spirit-less trends. After all, we are busy, right? And, we all know that children’s ministry is demanding. It takes a lot of work to make this ministry function, right? Plus, much is pulling for our attention, etc. Often, the “easy” way to survive is to hurriedly throw together a service with some kind of/sort of “Bibley feel” or purchase a trendy curriculum eliminates the need for connecting with the Holy Spirit. Without exception, the Spirit-less, prayer-less, powerless services become what Wesley called “a dead form”. 

Children’s leader, as we begin this new year, take some time to determine where your ministry is in relationship to the gifts and workings of the Holy Spirit. According to Wesley’s message, if there is no movement or working of the Holy Spirit, it is due to our state of being. Here’s a suggestion. As many of us are beginning this new year with extended times of prayer and fasting, it might wise to repent of becoming a “dead form” and then cry out for a fresh wind of the Spirit to blow upon us. Selah.