We recently celebrated five years at our Sojourn J-Town Campus in September. As we’ve reflected on and celebrated God’s work in and through his church over the last five years, we’ve also been dreaming for the next five. At Sojourn, we believe that our greatest program is our people. When I look ahead in SojournKids, I can’t help but grow more excited to continue to see vision become reality as I think about our children, families, and those that serve children and families.
As we look at meaningful service in SojournKids over the coming weeks, I want to help answer a key question that we are keeping in front of our teams in this season.
Why serve every week?
1. Reason 1: Build Relationships
At SojournKids we want to show Jesus to kids and families. One of the ways we show Jesus to children is by welcoming them in and loving on them week after week.
“… the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
We are a lot like the disciples. We can far too easily embrace the thinking that serving in children's ministry is an insignificant task.
- It’s just 70 minutes of childcare.
- I’m not able to relate to kids.
- Caring for, and teaching children is less significant than serving elsewhere in the church.
- The kids didn’t listen to me last week.
- Serving in kid’s ministry is only for single people or those without kids.
- Serving in kid’s ministry is only for the “professionals” (parents and teachers).
Despite the disciples’ actions in hindering the children, Jesus dismisses their rebuke and welcomes the children to come to him. Jesus loved and cared for the next generation, and even pointed to children as our example of how to receive the kingdom of God humbly. By welcoming children and ministering the gospel to them every week, we are showing them Jesus.
SojournKids is packed with relational opportunities even in our youngest classrooms. While it is widely understood that children need consistency, I think we can easily miss what this really means in the context of children's ministry. Consistency isn't achieved just through bullet-proof lesson plans and policies. Consistency comes through relationship. However, relationships demand trust, and trust takes time. On average, a regularly attending, well-connected family attends church two to three times per month. If you serve every other week, you likely will only see their child around 12 times per year. If you serve once per month, you will see that child even less often. This number decreases significantly with families who don’t attend regularly, or who are new attenders. These numbers simply point that to the fact that our time with children is limited more than we realize.
It is also more valuable than we know. One of my favorite spoken testimonies I received from a volunteer who recently increased her commitment to serve weekly is this,
“These kids know me, and I know them.”
We want our children to be known by our volunteers, and we want our volunteers to be known by our children. Relationships form and meaningful, joyful service becomes reality when we move from merely functioning as temporary crowd controllers, and move toward knowing the children in our care and assuming an active, partnering role in their spiritual formation and belonging in our church community.
Will you join us by making a 6-month commitment to attend one-serve one weekly in SojournKids? Sign up here!