Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Children's Ministry and Discouragement

"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." - 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)

He was always getting into fights at school. Sunday School lessons on kindness and forgiveness were beyond him. “It’s not right to hit others,” we told him. “He started it,” was always his excuse. Slowly, we saw his heart soften. He began asking more questions about Jesus. We saw him on the brink of making a decision for Christ, then he backed off. “I’m not ready,” he said. “He’s not ready,” he said. Soon after, the boy moved to Florida to live with his dad. Surprisingly, the grandmother told me, his was thriving and doing well. Still, I felt my co-workers and I had failed. We had not seen him through to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing 
that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. – 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NKJV)"

They came with two car loads of street kids, kids from broken homes, kids with hard exteriors, kids who didn’t even know their hearts were broken. One came to the Lord yet was stubborn to change his way of life. The others thought church was a game, a time to text message each other, eat food, throw pillows and sit next to girl friends in my Sunday School class. After a year, the youth leaders left, taking both car loads of kids with them. I felt I had failed. Did anything I taught them manage to stick to their souls?

"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. – 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)"

Last night, Bill O’Riley, on
The O’Riley Factor, quoted James Dobson, former CEO of Focus on the Family, who said, regarding the culture wars on the American family,“"We are awash in evil and the battle is still to be waged. We are right now in the most discouraging period of that long conflict (quoted from the Washington Monthly). Humanly speaking, we can say we have lost all those battles." O’Riley respectfully disagreed – there are still many in America who hold traditional values, he said. I add another reason why the battle is not lost:

"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. - 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)"

As Children’s Ministry workers, we never know how long we will be blessed by the presence of one child. They may come one week, never to darken our door again. They may come sporadically, or come faithfully for several years, only, one day, to come no more. Each session, we stand firm on the truth of God’s word. Each week, we give ourselves fully to the work God has given us to do. Each time, we stay faithful to God’s calling, confident that God will make sure, even if we never know, that our work will not be pointless. In ways only He can orchestrate, God will print our words to the pages of the lives around us and use our words and deeds to someday convict others of their need for the Savior.

I like
Dobson’s conclusion which O'Reilly failed to pick up on: : “ . . . but God is in control and we are not going to give up now, right?”

Right.

3 comments:

kidsrockibc said...

Hi Karen:

Can I quote the second to the last para. for our "in process" Children's Ministry blog?

K

Karen Wingate said...

I would be honored. Thank you for asking. Please feel free to give the weblink for Inside the Classroom as well.

Edna said...

I have been feeling very discouraged..this really encouraged me today. Thank you.