11 Jan A Letter Of Encouragement And Empowerment: For Those In The Kids and Youth Ministry
Kids and youth ministries are one of the most challenging groups to lead and shepherd. Our younger generation has transformed a lot over the years. It could be due the family background, their individual nature or the ease of exposure to many information and entertainment of the world, that are affecting their minds and hearts. This brings in a whole string of emotions and opinions onto their young lives. It is not the least to say, our kids and youth leaders, are finding it more and more difficult to interact, nurture or build this generation up. But we have to remember, when we started out in this ministry and on this entire journey, we are not in it on our own. God has led us in and He will lead us through with His added grace, power and wisdom. Whether you are a Sunday School teacher, assistant teacher, a youth leader, co-leader, or even a parent, this letter goes out to encourage what we have done and empower us to go further in this great mission to rise up our next generation. Here are a few important key points for us to ponder and pray upon as we embark on the new year.
Change the heart, not the behaviour
To do that, the teachers must not merely be a delegator of responsibility, but a life impacter. We must use every opportunity to nurture and impart lives to the young soul. Then, put in prayers for them in the midst of it, especially during difficult moments in delivering a lesson, or when we see the child making the same mistakes, and giving the same negative attitude.
Don’t just seek to change the child, ask whether you have changed
It is always easy to say “I have done my part, I have delivered the lesson, I have reprimanded the child, I have instructed him, but he is not receptive to change”. Sometimes, we look too much into the task list, but not the heart of it. So let us start asking ourselves more on questions like whether you have changed after teaching this class of challenging children. As a parent, I nurture my child and love them with all my heart, and the result of it? I changed. I hate to reprimand children and get into emotional struggle with them, but then I have slowly become one who learn to do so, and work through principles with them. I hate to lower my pride to talk to my children again after they have angered me. I would just say to myself: “Let them be if they do not want to learn!”, but i changed to be more relenting and learn to work through my children’s personalities and temperaments, recognizing that there is no “One Size Fits All” kind of nurturing technique. Now, that is love. Are you a teacher who nurture with God’s love? How do you know you are? Well, you will find that you have changed as you go along teaching them. Only by that, you know you are really “roughing” it out with them, as you struggled through to nurture them. The teacher is taught, as well.
The paradox of problem kid
Everyone loves obedient children, children that takes in instruction and makes our lives easier. Yet, have you realized that the most problematic kids get the most of our attention, and spiritually, it means the child gets most of our prayers too? Now, there will always come a time (or more) when we have that problematic kid in class. Take our Sunday School child, A, for example. He has a complicated background, yet he has shown the most change after more than a year in our Sunday School class. Have u wondered, if you had a class of obedient kids in Sunday School who are conditioned to be obedient, yet their hearts and minds are not spiritually dealt with critically through week after week of teachings, correction and sometimes even reprimanding, do you think they will have anything about God’s teachings that is imprinted on their hearts? Do not seek for merely an obedient class. Appreciate the fact that you have a chance to correct them, even if it means that it would be a little more taxing.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to change the child in His time
You can teach, you can encourage, you can correct, but ultimately, it is really the work of the Holy Spirit to change the child. Everything that you have prayed for, and have taught the child may not seem to reap desirable results. For example, the child still behaves the same way after a year of teaching, or she is still not that spiritually receptive, or he is still disruptive. Now believe that your prayers and teachings are not in vain. Whatever you have given to the child stays in him until God’s timing arrives. Then, you will see a new person living out all the truths you have given to him or her.
Teachers, be encouraged even though you feel discouraged. I know this sounds paradoxical, but that is the amazing truth about nurturing lives. You have to allow mess, but with the right spiritual perspective, you will come to understand it is a beautiful mess and a mess that will be made right with God.