One of my greatest joys in ministry is watching people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus /Christ. While I do not espouse to any Calvinistic theology, watching the stories unfold of how people come to Christ remind me that God does have a definite hand in brining people back to Himself. As I sat in our small church’s balcony, watching the baptism of a mother and a nine year boy, I felt awe at how God had once again shown how He was at work among us.
For years, a brother and sister have been hit and miss in their attendance at our small church. Soon the sister began bringing a friend. The brother who hardly ever came, started attending regularly. One week, he brought a friend we’ll call Dennis. Our youth intern invited him to the next week’s VBS program. He was there every day.
Often, churches will have some kind of closing program or, at least, have the kids sing some of the VBS songs at the worship service the following Sunday. As music director, I had decided not to do this because, in my experience, the kids want to, but the parents have other plans. No one comes except the faithful few who already come to church. And you can’t even count on them because everybody is so tired after VBS and church attendance slips too. So, when some kids asked me in the middle of VBS if we were going to sing for our parents on Sunday. I said, probably not. They persisted. I told them bluntly, I’d love to do it but we never get enough kids to sing. “Oh, we’ll come,” they said.
I discussed it with my husband the minister and my daughter the youth intern, sharing my reservations. “Yes, let’s do it,” they both said. Okay, but I can’t guarantee this is going to work, my doubting Thomas mindset objected. If less than five children come, we’re not singing, I told them. We sent letters home with the VBS kids. We told the kids. We practiced songs. Everyone was enthusiastic.
On Sunday morning, four church kids came. And Dennis. Dennis had brought his parents. That made five kids. We performed. The minister told Dennis’ parents he hoped they would come back. “Oh, we will!” they said. Yeah, right, you hear that a lot in the ministry. But they came back. The minister and youth intern visited them in their home and gave them brochures about the church, salvation, baptism, you know, the regular stuff preachers hand out.
The following Monday, Dennis’ mother calls the minister. “I read all the brochures you gave me,” she said. “I want to be baptized.” Her husband had been a member of our church years ago but had strayed away. His dad and stepmom still attended regularly.
Making the moment even more sweet, one of my junior church boys, whose family has only been attending for about a year, was baptized as well. He made his decision just two weeks earlier when I was explaining to my junior church kids that baptized believers in Christ take Communion and what it means to be baptized.
I have a hunch this is not the last baptism we’ll see for awhile. I have a hunch Dennis isn’t far behind. In fact, I won’t be a bit surprised if that brother and sister who first invited Dennis will soon raise their hands and say those sweet words Children’s ministry workers Inside the Classroom love to hear,
As a Children’s ministry worker, you work hard each week. You get discouraged, wondering if you are doing any good, if anyone is listening. Then, suddenly, someone new shows up because someone else invited him and you grab on to Jesus so you can hang on for the ride. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that.