Are children frightening? That might be one explanation for the perpetual paucity of adult participants in children’s ministries in most churches. I am very grateful that our church has a high rate of volunteerism when it comes to working with our children, but needs persist.
Take our upcoming VBS, for example. This is one of our annual events that, over the past several years, has attracted consistently greater numbers of children from outside our congregation and throughout our neighborhood. This year we will again have more than 200 children in attendance which is our maximum capacity given the 100+ volunteers we have working. Even so, there remains a need for about 4 more adults (age 18+) to make everything work as smoothly as possible with the least amount of disruption.
Take our 2nd hour children’s Sunday school as another example. While we continue to have a strong and encouraging showing for the first hour (during adult Sunday school), our second hour struggles to have enough adults to keep everything going. The reason for this is most likely that many people want to be in worship – for which I am grateful. Nevertheless, the adage of previous generations still holds true: many hands make light work.
Why do I bring this up? NOT, I hasten to say, because I believe there is a crisis. There isn’t. No children are wandering the halls unsupervised; no children are fainting for lack of nourishment; no children are singing, “Where have all the adults gone?”. I am, however, bringing this up because there are needs and in a congregation the size of ours this should not be so.
Here, then, is my church-wide challenge: every able-bodied member of our congregation contacts Sara Beth Duyck (firstname.lastname@example.org) and offers to help. You don’t need to be the lead teacher. You don’t need to be the lead diaper changer (let the people say, Amen!). You do, however, need to be willing to work with others who could use your presence and assistance to carry out what they’ve planned. If you would like to help lead or teach a class, then all the better, but sometimes we need to take small steps before we’re ready for bigger ones.
Now, some of you may be thinking to yourselves, “All well and good that the pastor asks us to get involved in the children’s ministry, but what about him?” Indeed, what about me? Beginning this July, I will be serving in the children’s area on the 3rd Sunday of each month. Clearly, I can only serve in the first hour, but I don’t want to ask of you what I am unwilling to do myself.
Final note: when you sign up to help, you need to complete a background check. We live in a world where this is necessary, so don’t let the world win by refusing to do this. In a culture that marginalizes, trivializes and endangers children, let’s be among those loving them in Jesus’ name.