Having been a children’s pastor in a church for some 25 years, I have so, so many stories that I could share. I was reminded yesterday morning of a wonderful couple who came into my office one Sunday morning to tell me that they were leaving our church. I remember so clearly how they went to great lengths to assure me that they weren’t leaving our church because of anything that I had or hadn’t done. The reason I then learned was because they wanted to attend a much larger church in our community, one that had so much to offer their children. As a parent I could understand their thinking. We all want what is best for our children, don’t we!
Ready for this shocker? After listening to their explanation, I paused for a minute and then gave them a response that was different than what they had anticipated. I explained that after hearing this news, immediately my heart was troubled. I quickly acknowledged to these parents that their desired church was outstanding in so many ways. And, there was no way to deny that their children’s ministry had so much that our children’s ministry couldn’t offer. That particular church definitely had the “wow” factor with incredible ambiance, state-of-the-art technology, and a seemingly endless budget. And yet, my heart was troubled.
Why? After explaining that my discomfort had nothing to do with losing a family from our church or having fewer children in our ministry, I looked into their eyes and boldly told them that I believed that their children deserved more. I could tell that my comment confused them. More? I then explained that while this larger church had so much to offer, from what I had been told over and over again, there was one humongous deficit in their ministry. It was said that in the area of being a Holy Spirit knowing and Holy Spirit flowing children’s ministry, this large children’s ministry came up greatly lacking. I further told the parents that it was of the utmost importance that their children needed to be in a Spirit-filled, Spirit-demonstrating, Spirit-talking, Spirit-behaving (AKA having the fruit of the Spirit showing) nursery/Sunday school/children’s church/mid-week Bible clubs/student ministries classroom. Their children DESERVED to be in an environment where the number one priority was for there to be a consistently seeable, hearable, feelable Holy Spirit. Anything less wouldn’t be acceptable. I don’t know if I made this couple happy or angry. I never saw them again.
I hate to do this but I need to stop writing. I’ll close this week with this thought. Your children DESERVE to know the Holy Spirit. I’ll say it this way. YOUR children DESERVE to know the Holy Spirit. One step more and then I will quit for this week. YOUR children DESERVE to KNOW the Holy Spirit.
I will continue this teaching next week …