Whether we like to admit it or not, each of us to some degree or another are very label conscious. For many of us, we walk into a department store and go straight to the clothing section that is made by our favorite designer. Come on. You know that it’s the truth. Young, old, rich, not so rich, we all have “our” label. We generally don’t even consider looking at clothes made another company. Why? Because that one designer or label describes who we are and what we like. I might even go so far as to say that the label “defines” us. One more time … you know that it’s the truth.
nametag Just as the department store is filled with labels, the church is filled with labels, especially in children’s ministry, labels that define who we are and what we do. Many of this blog’s readers have a label. It might be “children’s pastor” or “nursery director” or “children’s choir director” or “sidewalk Sunday school volunteer”.
The reason for this week’s blog is to issue a warning. There is an unseen danger in labels. Whether we recognize it or not, that defining label also is a confining label. It places boundaries on who we are and restrictions on what we can do. He’s a children’s pastor. She is a nursery master teacher.
Let me personalize what I am trying to share. My label is children’s pastor. I am a children’s pastor and have been for almost 24 years at Trinity Church International. I love the church. I love the children. But I am keenly aware that if allowed, this title or label given by men or organizations can place restraints on who I am and what I can do. After all, I am (unsaid … “just”) a children’s pastor. Thankfully, I guard the way that I think. I recognize that I am so much more than a children’s pastor. This isn’t ego talking. I just know that my God-given dreams and passion stretch far beyond the constraints imposed by being “just” a children’s pastor. In writing this, I’m not minimizing the ministry at Trinity or disrespecting their perception of me. I’m just not allowing it to place boundaries that prevent me from fulfilling my God-given assignment.
The same can be said for you. Before you were born, God placed dreams and purpose on the inside of you. You have an assignment. Don’t smother or constrain your assignment because of boundaries imposed by a label placed by others. Be loyal to your place of ministry be it nursery or children’s choir or Sunday school teacher or children’s pastor. But at the same time, don’t be defined or confined and go through life with your wings strapped to your body. Go ahead and spread your wings. Begin now. Fly. Soar. Fulfill your assignment. Your destiny is waiting on you!