By Tricia Simmons
Have you ever had the privilege of ministering to children? If not, just know it is the hardest and sweetest thing one is called to do. It is like parenting. You pray for the children in your care, you prepare lessons for them, then you share the lesson… and sometimes you wonder if any of them hear a word you are saying.
You look at the children gathered around you and see that some are looking everywhere but at you. Others sit in rapt attention—or maybe they are daydreaming, it is hard to tell.
And then there is that moment when you are wrapping up the lesson and telling them how much Jesus loves them and they respond! They respond to the simplicity of the good news that Jesus loves them. And there is nothing as sweet as witnessing little ones raising their hands to the Lord with tears streaming down their face while saying, “I love you Jesus.” When you know a child’s story and the burden they carry on their little shoulders – hunger, fear, sadness, rejection, sickness, abandonment, their response to the Lord isn’t just sweet, it is convicting.
Their open response and trust in a loving Savior remind adults why Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4 NLT)
Children’s ministry pastors and teachers play a crucial role in preventing tomorrow’s orphans. The Lulu Tree desires to reach children before they need to be rescued, and that means we support the men and women who are ministering to the children where we serve.
But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? (Romans 10:14 NLT)
Our Uganda Co-Director, Joel, recently led a children and youth facilitator training session and taught on modeling. No, not training on donning the latest clothing trends and walking a runway, but how to model Jesus.
Those in attendance were encouraged to commit anew to model openly what it means to know, love, and obey God in their own lives.
“When we consider teaching, the best example we can find is Jesus,” says Joel. “How did Jesus take His “class” of twelve ordinary men and get them to the point where eleven of them turned the world upside down with His message! As we look at the Master Teacher Jesus Christ, we see that He did four things: He modeled God’s truth; He built relationships with His students; He communicated God’s truth effectively; He challenged His students to respond.
“The disciples watched Jesus and knew that He had a dynamic relationship with His Father. What do our students see when they watch us?
“When we say that Jesus modeled, what do we mean? He was what He wanted them to become. Jesus was a walking visual aid of what it means to know, love, and obey God. The disciples watched Him to see whether what He taught was matched by what He did. My students watch me too. I do not have a choice about being a model. The only question is, ‘What kind of model am I?”