I grew up as a Pastor's kid. Well, my mom was a Children's Pastor. She was over all elementary aged ministry and somehow found a way to also chaperone Youth Group missions trips and let me have all my friends over to play cards and watch movies. I loved growing up in ministry. Walking into the church felt like walking into home. The best friends I had as a 6th grader are my best friends today. I'm serving God today because I grew up surrounded by people who loved God and served Him.
So, it was only natural that I'd want go into "full-time vocational ministry", too. I went to Bible College and spent my days thinking about ministry and theology and how I was doing God's will! Even before I graduated from college, my husband and I were "children's evangelists" and would travel from city to city, state to state doing church services and special events at kids' camps and local churches. Soon, we helped start a church and began weekly ministry to elementary and preschool kids. We did this for almost seven years.
And then, we left full-time ministry for full-time, normal people life. We worked regular jobs and had babies and didn't think about theology or ministry curriculum or how a service should flow. We went to a local church and volunteered in the nursery and let other people tell us what to do. It was completely different. And surprisingly, we liked it.
We liked not having the weight of a whole ministry on our shoulders. We liked supporting hard working full-time staff members. We liked having non-Christian friends and discovering ministry in the strangest of places.
But when our kids started getting older, we felt like they were missing something. How would they learn to love the local church? Ministry? How would they have a heart for the whole world when all they saw was their own everyday lives?
You probably see the answer, but I didn't right away. I thought loving the world meant you had to be in full-time ministry. I thought doing big things for God meant doing them professionally as a job with a title!
It took me a few years to understand what God-loving folks around the world have been doing for centuries outside of the four walls of their churches--they just DO. They let kids do on their level, with their own hands, out of their own heart. They talk about the world, they show kids needs and they let kids just DO for God. My kids are only 8 and 6 but as I've introduced my kids to ministries and people and the world, their little hearts and hands are excited to give. They've surprised me with their depth of understanding, emotion and desire to show others God's love.
Here's a few of their favorite ways to DO for God:
1. Write letters to our kids sponsored through Compassion.
2. Pack shoeboxes full of Christmas gifts for needy kids.
3. Collect nickels for kids who need mosquito nets to sleep safely.
4. Pray for THUMB people around the world
5. Have rock-a-thons to free slaves.
As my kids' hearts have opened to others, mine has too. Their child-like (or rather child's) faith sees God's hand working everywhere they go. They see ministry happening at gymnastics and at the chiropractor and even online. They see God's will as a normal part of their life.
May I have those same eyes! To see God's heart for the world everywhere--not based on my vocation or my calling, but simply by being a part of the body of Christ!
Amanda White is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at ohAmanda.com and is the author of Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!
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1/16/2015 01:38:41 am
Isn't it amazing how, when we minister to our kids, they end up ministering to us?! There's nothing more inspirational than the faith of a child. Thanks for the ideas you have given us and for sharing your heart!
1/18/2015 10:59:16 am
I love the word "missional"! It is the word I have been looking for for the last 6 years! We have recently moved back from the Dominican Republic after working with a corporation there for 6 years. I was always asked if we were missionaries and I would respond that we weren't "paid" missionaries but hoped that our life reflected like we were. I was just contemplating this week on how I need a word to describe how we try to live our lives. Missional is it! Thanks Sister!
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