For our 25 years of being a Children’s Pastor at Trinity Church International in Lake Worth, Florida, I did my very best to give special attention to each and every child each week. Often I would go home after the weekend’s third and final service and tell Vickie that I didn’t have a single hug left in me because I’d hugged literally hundreds of kids before and after the services. I told her that I didn’t have many kisses left in me because I’d held and kissed many of the little babies on the top of their heads. While I loved my time of ministry from the platform, to me, the ultimate time of ministry was that one-on-one time each week. Those few seconds with the individual child transformed me from being just a preacher into a true biblical pastor (shepherd … one who smells like his sheep because he’s been with them).
While visiting our mid-week 4-year-old class one Wednesday night, I had something happen that eternally cemented the importance of the one-on-one time. I was in the classroom for a few minutes before the actual class time began and became engaged in conversation with an adorable little boy that was enjoying a handful of Play Dough. After a talking for a while, I asked him, “Do you know who I am?” Looking up at me with the most loving eyes, he said, “Jesus?”
When I tell this story in our Ignite the Supernatural Conferences or the Ignite & Unite Conferences, I immediately get giggles or aahhhsss from the audience. I’ll admit that it does have a cuteness factor. But, I don’t tell this story for the giggles and aahhhsss. There is an underlying truth that we need to be reminded of often. To each and every child that we touch or are with even for the briefest of time, the Holy Spirit wants to remind us that for that given moment, we have the opportunity of a lifetime. Just as when that cute 4-year-old looked up at me, to those that get our undivided attention and love for even a few seconds or a minute or two, we get to be Jesus-in-the-flesh.
Some child or youth in your ministry is looking for a Jesus-in-the-flesh. Please don’t let the busyness of the ministry or your focus on the pulpit time force you to miss out on the ultimate life-changing ministry time, that one-on-one, look ’em in the eyes, hug their necks, tell them that you genuinely love them, kiss the baby on the forehead, I get to be His flesh and blood representative time.
Go change a generation … one child at a time.