Taking the Plunge: Robyn Iler
August 27, 2016 at 6:29 pm Categories: Member Spotlight
Psalm 145:4 says that “One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.” For the past five years, it has been my privilege to tell four and five year olds about the mighty wonders of the God who loves them very much. As part of the pre-school ministry, I get to meet with these young children and share with them amazing, but true, stories of God’s provision, protection, and great love for them. In a world that increasingly rejects God’s Truth and sovereignty, in a society that increasingly has little knowledge or care for a God who has a keen interest in each life, and in a culture that seeks to expose our young children to what they are not equipped to understand, children’s ministry, indeed pre-school ministry, provides a vital opportunity to share the love and truth of God in a way that is easy for our youngest ones to grasp.
Each week in a pre-school Sunday school class, children have an opportunity to make friends and receive an abundance of love from teachers and helpers who are genuinely glad to see them. They have a chance to explore through games, to be creative during craft time, to sing, to play, and to hear a simple story from the Bible, presented in an energetic and engaging way. Each story also includes a specific, age-appropriate message they can take to heart. Over the course of the year, it is such a joy to watch the children grow in their understanding of who Jesus is, all He has done and can do for them, and most of all, how much He loves them.
One of the most amazing things about children’s ministry is how God uses the most ordinary among us to accomplish His work in these little lives. Most of us who work in children’s ministry do not have formal training as teachers. Most of us lead very busy lives with little time for an onerous commitment. What little we have to bring, God multiplies. Each week, I spend about an hour reviewing my lesson and gathering necessary supplies. I do not have to come up with a lesson from scratch. The curriculum we use lays everything out and provides a wide assortment of age-appropriate activities to support the lesson. The well-stocked supply closets at church contain much of what is needed, but if a lesson calls for something special, the very accommodating children’s ministry staff will work to provide it. The most important thing I need to bring each week is a smile and a heart ready to love each child that walks through that door.
During my time in children’s ministry, I have been abundantly blessed. I have been blessed by each child who comes to class each week. Getting to know their budding personalities and watching them grow during the course of the year brings a smile to my face. I am blessed by the children’s ministry staff and helpers who assist in the classroom. These people are bastions of patience, calm, understanding, and joy. They have the best laughs ever. I am blessed by the parents I get to meet. I will confess to not being the most outgoing person and the open atrium at church can be a little intimidating for me on Sunday mornings. Yet, as a child recognizes me and runs up to give me a hug or points me out to a parent, it gives me an easy opportunity to introduce myself and meet new people. It really has helped me feel more connected to my church. As my own children are much older, working with preschoolers has given me a way to get to know a group of families I probably would not have met otherwise. Praying for the children in my class and their families also helps me feel more invested in my church family. In addition, teaching fours and fives each week helps keep me grounded in my faith. Teaching these simple, yet foundational lessons each week, reminds me of basic truths that encourage me when I look at the news or the state of our culture and want to panic. As the old hymn goes, and as we teach the children through the Bible stories, “that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”
Children’s ministry is humble, behind the scenes work. It is not glamorous, and it does require sacrifices. My family gets up early to attend first service so that I can teach during second service, but in the end, I have no doubt that it is worth it. If God has called you to serve Him, He will provide for all you need to be able to do it. Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me.” Now, that is a great reason to get involved with children’s ministry.