This past semester, I have not been able to participate in the kids group ministry at my church due to obligations that came up this semester. However, I am now taking the time to think through “why?” we expend so much energy into these kids. Over the past couple years we as a leadership team have thought though both the why and how of the kids group. One of the things that I must constantly remind myself is that These kids are created in God’s image and our purpose is not to simply control behavior: our goal is to present them to Christ!
The gospel must be the central theme for the kids group. Everything must revolve around opportunities to live out the gospel before the kids and point the kids to Christ. Looking back over my childhood when I was going through kids group, my generation had a significant impact from our parents. This is something that I see missing in the particular generation to which I minister. However, in spite of this, I believe we can have effective ministry because the Spirit is really the most important factor.
Fully recognizing the role and work of the Spirit, we also try to organize the time with the kids to present the raw material (e.g. Scripture) which the Spirit uses. My generation was generally submissive to authority (especially our parents) and thus we were under control by the leaders with little effort – relatively speaking. The current generation does not recognize authority and the methods of control used on my generation really do not work. We try to overcome this difficulty by purposefully structuring our time.
We also give incentives to the kids for good behavior, but at the end of the day we have concluded that investing our lives one-on-one, as much as possible, is what God has called us to do. We can spend our entire time trying to teach good manners, obedience, Bible verses, or silly/serious songs, which are good things in their own right, but without that personal influence on the kids we do not feel our efforts will matter in light of eternity.
One of my favorite New-Testament passages is Colossians 1:15-20. In this section of the letter, Paul emphasizes the place Christ has within God’s plan. My friend asked me a question about the phrase “that in all things, He [Jesus] might have the preeminence.” Some translations use the phrase “first place” to describe the position of Christ in this section. The question boils down to this: should Christ just be the first place in a list of many other priorities? or does this passage seem to indicate something else?
The only other time this word “preeminence” is used in the New Testament is in the third letter of John. There, Diotrephes apparently refused to accept some letters from John and did not recognize John’s apostolic authority. On top of all this, he refused to “welcome the brothers” and excommunicates those who would accept them. This man was verbally abusive against John and his cohort. The primary description that John uses for this man is that he “likes to put himself first” which is sometimes translated “loves the first place.”
Diotrephes was consumed with himself. The only priority he had was making himself prominent in the church to which he ministered.
In contrast, what Paul argues is that Christ is the all consuming focus of the Christian. Since God made Christ the central focus of His plan to reconcile all things to Himself it stands to reason that Christians would do well to make God’s priorities their own. So, instead of Christ being the first of many priorities, Christ actually provides the foundation for all other priorities. The question I can ask myself related to this are:
- How does a priority in my life fit with God’s priority?
- How do my priorities find their resolution in Christ?
- Do I conduct my life consistent to what God has revealed about Jesus?
I pray that I make Jesus my focus or the lens through which I filter every aspect of my life in contrast to seeing Jesus as only one part of it.
Benny Hinn rebukes Joel Osteen. Interesting and ironic that Hinn is defending the exclusivity of the gospel as well as attacking the folly of the seeker sensitive movement. Apparently Joel Osteen can’t cast out demons because he himself is demon possessed. It’s an interesting 10 minutes.
[youtube width=480 height=360]azqoBksweZA[/youtube]