Why Children’s Ministry Brings Me Joy
Written by Megan Klinger
Chances are, if you’ve been at Waypoint for a while, you’ve heard Pastor Lawrence say at least once that we have the cutest kids in the world. It’s true. In my totally unbiased opinion, I 100% concur. If you’ve been in Waypoint Kids at all, you know our kids are the sweetest, cutest, funniest kids. And there are a lot of them! In looking forward to the fall, we’re planning for 101 little Waypoint Kids ranging from newborn to 5th grade, and our kids make up about 35% of our total church family. If those numbers mean nothing to you, trust me when I say they’re high! I’d be lying if I said that doesn’t make my head spin sometimes, but mostly I’m amazed. Those numbers are blessings! Psalm 127 calls children “a heritage from the Lord.” We’ve got 101 individual people that we get to enjoy, teach, and partner with their families. There are many things to learn from being part of children’s ministry, but here are three privileges of it that bring me joy:
Children’s ministry forms our view of church. I grew up attending church from the time I was small. My Sunday routine consisted of ruffly socks, a pretty dress, and walking down the block to our church for Sunday School at 10AM each week. There are things I remember learning in Sunday School, but I’ll be honest, what I remember most are the people – welcoming smiles, hugs, and firm insistence that I am loved by the Creator of the universe. Church for me has always been a safe place where I felt welcomed, and where people were excited to see me. My Sunday School teachers loved me with gentle patience, kindness, and consistency. Even still, when I go to my home church and see the people there who taught me about Jesus as a child, I know that I am loved and prayed for. I know my experience isn’t the experience of everyone who grew up in church – years of abuse that have come to light in recent years are devastating to victims and the Church. We seek for Waypoint Kids to be a place of safety and love where kids feel excited to be, restful with the people who are caring for them each week, and tenaciously reminded of how loved by God they are.
Children’s ministry is more than childcare. There’s a difference in childcare and children’s ministry. Both are a lot of fun, but one is babysitting while the other involves intentional teaching and relationship building. Children’s ministry on a Sunday morning is important to us because we see Waypoint’s kids as whole image bearers who are able to learn about God and His gospel plan. This means we teach simple, biblical truth, we pray for and with our kids, and we walk alongside them and their families as they seek to glorify God. I think there’s something so beneficial for kids (and adults!) in simple statements of biblical truth. For example, the slogan for last year’s Vacation Bible School was, “Jesus is our strong foundation.” I’ve been told by some parents that their kids are still saying the slogan! What a gift to have that impressed upon your memory at 3 years old. Imagine what it will look like for them to grow in understanding of what that means as they turn 5, 15, 25…50! 100! We are ever growing in God as He sanctifies us, and children’s ministry gives us the opportunity to sow seeds at a young age, often even getting to reap the fruit that God grows. Our hope is always that Waypoint Kids is so much more than childcare.
Children’s ministry gives you the opportunity to grow. Over the past year+ as we’ve been doing atypical, COVID kid’s ministry, I’ve been in the “virtual classroom” teaching each week. I was resistant at first, but in hindsight, I’m grateful for the parent recommendation to give Waypoint Kids videos a shot. I’ve been told that kids and families love the videos, but even if not one single person watched them, God has used prepping for the videos to teach me much about Himself. One of the things we want our kids to see is this big, beautiful story of the Bible. It’s amazing, really - the connections from Old to New Testament, the allusions of the Messiah to come, the depth of the character of our faithful God, and more. Prepping to teach means that I have to simply understand so that I can simply teach truths about God. When we go into the classroom with this mindset, what we share is more real to us, giving us a passion that comes through in our words. In recent months, we were learning about some of the Old Testament prophets. One of our truth statements has been, “God’s plans can’t be stopped.” The amount of times I’ve repeated that to myself over the past few months? Too many to count. As I learn more about God for teaching in Waypoint Kids, it doesn’t stay in a Waypoint Kids box. It touches every part of my life. God has only increased my affection for Him by necessitating that I spend time simply seeking Him in His Word.
When Waypoint planted in 2014, one of our oldest kids was 5 years old. This child graduates to youth group in the fall. This thrills me to no end! As we continue to age as a church, we’ll only continue to watch kids move down the Waypoint Kids hallway, ever learning more about God. We pray that the gospel would grip their hearts, and that they would be fervent disciples of Jesus as they grow. Going off the numbers, it’s clear that God has seen fit for children’s ministry to be an important part of the life of our church. I invite you to join us in this ministry, helping kids taste and see the beauty of a life lived to bring glory to our wonderful God.