As ministry leaders, the volunteers in your children’s ministry can often be so overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities that they forget to take the time to care for themselves. This distraction can create the perfect recipe for disaster if it’s let go for too long. Take some time to encourage your team with these three devotional thoughts focused on soul care for leaders.
Examining Your Heart as a Children’s Ministry Volunteer
If someone were to ask a Children’s Ministry volunteer the question, “how’s your heart?” there may be a variety of answers. Depending on the day, or even the time of day, the response could vary. While this seems to be true of everyone in ministry, this question is especially relevant for those serving in the Children’s Ministry. Everyone knows the old familiar saying, "you can’t pour from an empty cup." Except sometimes? You can. Is it a good idea? Of course not. Will things still get done? Probably. Will there be joy in the process? Not likely. Will it be long-lasting? Almost certainly not. There are busy seasons in any children’s ministry where everyone seems to be running on fishy crackers and juice boxes. However, we must check in on our volunteers between those busy moments to make sure they are taking the time to refill from all those times they are pouring out. Most people join our teams because of a desire to serve God’s kids and the calling He has placed on their lives. Unfortunately, sometimes the actual serving part tends to take over. It is part of our ministry calling to make sure our teams are spending time with Jesus as a leader to leaders. Often. And more than just for preparing their lesson. This goes beyond just keeping an eye on the schedule to make sure they get time to be in service. This also means sometimes asking them hard questions and being prepared for real answers. It may be surprising to hear the responses. Are they facing burnout? It’s likely they haven’t had their hearts filled up in a while. Are they filled with joy? Chances are, they have spent some time in worship and hearing from the Lord. Our role is to help guide them in the choices that allow them to get filled back up. Then the serving comes from a place of overflow instead of a place of deficit.
I pray that your love will overflow more and more and that you will keep growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Examining Your Mind as a Children’s Ministry Volunteer
Serving God through Children’s Ministry can sometimes be a daunting task. In our culture, it can be easy to think that our meager one or two hours a week is sufficient to make a difference in a child's life. The mountains of technology, social media, and cultural pressures can feel like they win the battle before we even begin to fight. However, it’s important to remember a couple of very important facts. The Lord can do more in 30 seconds with a child’s heart than we can do on our own in an entire year with the curriculum and classroom. Our role is not to feel the burden of changing the hearts and minds of the kids. That’s God’s role. Instead, our part is to create an environment where God can work. While it may be tempting to throw in the towel to what seems an impossible task, we must realize that is exactly what the enemy wants. Instead, we are called to make up our minds to follow through on the calling that God has given us. We must protect our minds from any thoughts the enemy may try to use to distract and discourage us. It is through our thoughts that our behaviors and actions take root. How we think determines how we feel and how we feel determines how we act. The key? Guarding our minds.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Examining Your Emotions as a Children’s Ministry Volunteer
When our hearts and our minds are set towards obedience to God, there is still one more factor that can distract us from the calling God has given us to serve His kids. Our emotions. Our emotions can sometimes feel so much bigger than our intentions. As a result, they can become the guiding principle of our behavior. Many of us struggle with a sort of imposter syndrome. We buy into this feeling that we are not qualified for what God has asked us to do and that someone else would be better at doing it. The reality is that you have everything you need. Because God equips those that He calls, He isn’t dependent on our own personality or experience to move and work in the lives of the kids He has called us to serve. Instead, God is looking for our obedience. That obedience can be hard if we are caught up in our emotions. Our commitment to serving in obedience to God must be bigger than how we feel in the moment. What we feel can sometimes be different than what we know. And what we know is that God has promised us never to leave us. That means He is with us, even in the moments that feel hard. Or scary. Or like He somehow picked the wrong person to fill this role. It’s those very moments that He shows up and uses us, despite the insecurities. It’s one of the coolest things the Holy Spirit does. Our role is to simply walk in obedience.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
As we examine our hearts, our minds, and our emotions, let us remember that we are loved and called for a purpose.
Rachael Groll shares from the heart as she serves those around her in Meadville, Pa. You can connect with her on her blog, http://shehears.org/ where she shares free tools and resources to point others to Christ.