What a treat it is for me to be able to share with you just a few of my favorite things about the Vineyard kids ministry. It is hard to narrow it down and even harder to express in words the experience of seeing kids grow in their faith but here goes.
First would have to be hearing kids pray. The way kids pray is so free and unrehearsed. They just say the most precious and at times hilarious things. I love how prayer expresses some insight into what is specifically important to each kid. You really get to find out more about their individual personalities.
There is so much excitement and joy that flows from kids when they get to church Sunday mornings. Especially if they know the Vineyard is their church home and they see familiar faces, or if they have come a few times and know what fun is in store for them. It really reminds me to see Jesus through the fresh eyes and excitement of the children. As adults that energy and joy isn’t always as evident.
Having the privilege to tell children that God loves them no matter what, that you never run out of chances with Jesus. He is always there with arms open waiting for us, no matter what no matter when. It makes my heart smile when you get down to a child’s level, ask them who loves them and their first response is Jesus without hesitation. If we all responded that quickly with that confidence as adults we would be far more equipped to cope with the realities of relationships in our everyday life.
The friendships that form between volunteers within the children’s ministry is so special, as well as their friendships and bonds that develop with the kids. It really is so neat to see how each person has their own unique gifting’s to offer the kids. It takes a special kind of person to serve God through investing love, energy and time into children. We all have those people/teachers in our life that we remember as adults that made us feel important and special when we were children. How neat is it to imagine that we could be that same safe, happy space in their memory that made a difference in their heart?
Finally, it is so wonderful to see families growing in their faith together. Seeing that it is important to parents that their children know Jesus personally, all the while they are cultivating their own personal vertical relationship with God. Witnessing and experiencing myself the bond of faith that develops within families through fellowship at church is just something that is difficult to explain but so very fulfilling to experience.
Every week I am surprised by the new ways I am blessed by serving in the kids ministry, by being a part of the Vineyard family. What an incredible honor it is to be used by God in ways I never imagined. What ways can you ask God to work through you and bless others?
pastor Niki Wolter