This will be the final post for the "Inside the Classroom" blog. Thank you to those few who have faithfully read my column. Your trust in my words is humbling. When I first started this column four years ago, there were no Children's ministry blogs. Now, there are many fine blogs out there full of good ideas and godly advice. I hope they will be a blessing to you.
I have a confession to make. While I have had many years of experience in children's ministry, I am a hypocrite. I have portrayed myself as an expert. Yet the children's ministry at my own church has shriveled into nothing. Yesterday, as one of two teachers left, I had no children in junior church, the Sunday before, one, the Sunday before that, one. I've tried to initiate programs over the last two months that have fizzled. I have tried to motivate people in my church with no success.
I am a failure at children's ministry and I cannot keep writing blog entries giving you advice on how to reach the children around you when I have no success at doing it myself. How can I write a blog on Children's ministry when I have nothing from which to draw?
I am concerned for our youth. They are being hit with more and more twisted messages about diversity, sexual preferences, relativism, evolution. They are knocked down when they try to express any kind of Christian sentiment. More and more children are becoming the victims of divorce, sexual abuse, substance abuse, and immorality and permissiveness in the home. We need strong church programs that will lift them up and empower their parents to teach them God's wisdom. We need bold Christians who are willing to shine brightly with the love of Christ, who are willing to open their arms and enfold the unlovely, unkempt child, reassuring them that there is another way to live and Someone does love them unconditionally. I long to reach these children. Yet I fear they and their families have succumbed to the greatest subterfuge of all - the lure to keep busy with other things so you don't have time for Jesus.
Children are important. Teaching children about Jesus is one of the highest callings we can have. I am saddened to see people so busy that loyalty to children's ministry gets crowded out. All of us, parents and teachers alike, need to prioritize, need to examine what is important in our lives and to have the courage to cut the good so we can focus on the best. The best is Jesus. The best is winning our world to Jesus. The best is equipping children with the tools they need to be a spiritual success in this world. I wish I was a better motivator. I wish I was better at making the Gospel more appealing so kids and their parents would come, hungry for Jesus and realizing the feast we have to offer them. I wish I could share with you what I'm doing wrong so you don't encounter the same pitfalls.
But I don't have solutions and I don't have success stories. Other people do and I pray that God will guide your teaching so that you will draw the little ones to Jesus and you may instill a faith in them that sticks for a lifetime.