Life is good … at least that’s my thought each and every time that I get into my new 2013 Ford Edge. I’m not missing my 1998 Ford Explorer one bit.  Believe me when I say that there were no tears rolling down my cheeks as I left the Explorer at the dealership.  The Explorer’s 177,000+ miles had taken their toll. With its creaking and clanging, you could hear me approaching long before I got to you.

In shopping for a new vehicle, I knew what the have-to-haves were on this new purchase. Without question, the vehicle would require having the tires, steering wheel, power brakes, seats, power transmission, and air conditioning. But, in addition to the essentials, I knew that there were certain features that I really, really wanted including a satellite navigation system, rear camera, and Bluetooth phone connectivity. The reality is that I could have a good vehicle without these extras. The extras just made the driving a whole lot more enjoyable.

*button11Have you taken the time to evaluate the have-to-haves of your children’s ministry? If you are like most children’s ministry workers and leaders, when asked this question, your mind begins to list props, tools, and equipment, things that put the “wow” in kids coming to church. But, using the illustration used in purchasing my Edge, you will quickly see that these items on your list are really extras and add-ons, things that make the ministry a whole lot more enjoyable. I’ve been in many countries where the children’s ministry in the local church never had or will ever have access to these extras and yet they are having powerful, life-changing services.

I want to challenge you to take inventory of the real essentials. What are the have-to-haves for a life-changing, eternity-impacting service? I’m sure that you will quickly see that none of these have-to-haves need an electrical plug.

Just to keep you from misunderstanding what I am saying, let me add that I am NOT advocating eliminating the bells and whistles of your ministry. To be spiritual, the ministry doesn’t have to be a dry as last week’s toast. As I’ve already mentioned, the extras make the drive a whole lot more enjoyable. I’m just reminding us to make the main thing, the main thing. Dependence upon the Holy Spirit is not an option; it is essential for authentic ministry. Being prayer-saturated is not an extra; it is essential for keeping the ministry on track. Being a student of the Word is not up for discussion; it is essential for God to arise to His place of preeminence in your ministry.

If you are tired of the creaking and clanging of your present vehicle (your children’s ministry), it just might be time to trade it in for a newer model. Just make sure that the have-to-haves are included and then add in your bells and whistles. Then, I pray that  you’ll soon be experiencing an “oh baby” ride that both you and your children will enjoy!