Why Serve Every Week? (Part 1, Relationships)

Ashley StevensonComment

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!  

A word for the stressed out children's ministry leader.

UncategorizedAshley Stevenson5 Comments

Have you ever felt like you’re going to have an aneurysm on a Saturday night after you've received one or multiple messages from children’s ministry workers saying they can’t make it the next morning? If so, this post might be for you. Bearing the responsibility for staffing Sunday mornings and other events in kids ministry is a trying task whether you have 25 kids to care for, or 250.  Here is my response:

-Calm down.

-God cares for those children. He cares for them a lot more than you do.

I say that as a hypocrite who has (praise God) been growing in grace and truth in this aspect of ministry. I've realized that my perception of recruiting stress is much of the time a spiritual matter. Either I'm trusting Him, or I'm operating as if I can add to His work.

You know that God cares for the kids in your care. But how are you displaying this truth to your children’s ministry team? Is anxiety-driven recruiting taking over your children’s ministry and sucking the life, time, and joy out of you and your team? If you don’t know the answer to this question, prayerfully consider much time you spend doing the following each week:


-Making frantic phone calls, or sending frantic emails

-Anxiously working through servant-assignment lists and schedules

-Re-working the lists and schedules

-Re-working them again (I once called all of this “proactive,” but it’s far from that).

If you’re still not sure of the answer to this question, ask and observe your leadership team, ministry assistant, or lead servants. Do they feel the weight of your ministry’s needs in a healthy way? Or do they reflect your anxiety?

Sunday is always coming. Needs will arise. Do faithful work as it makes much of God. Just be on guard against a sin-stricken motivation based in anxiety or self-glory. And know that his grace is sufficient even when our motivations fail. Because they will.

Try not looking at servant needs for a few of your workdays each week. Instead use that time for:

-Encouraging and blessing your servants and teams

-Pouring into the lives of the kids and families in your care and in your community.

-Working on other ministry initiatives.

-Celebrating victories.

You can trust in our great God by resting in the truth that he knows your needs. He will provide. He provided last Sunday, and he will provide next Sunday. Allow the stress of recruiting to hexpose in you your desperate need for Jesus. God cares for the children he has entrusted to you. And that is enough.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

School of Word & Art--Can you help with a few remaining needs?

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

Here are a few of the remaining needs for our VBS/School of Word & Art.  Please email if you can help out with these immediate needs:

  • Snacks: We're looking for a community group or group of ladies to adopt the snacks station on one or two days of VBS.   This will involve preparing snacks for the kids and the adult workers and cleaning up afterwards.  You will be reimbursed for supplies.   It won’t involve being at VBS the entire time.  Some days have already been adopted, so sign up quick to get your choice.
  • Crafts: We need a team of 5-10 people to help prepare crafts every day. The greatest need will be immediately before and after the VBS day—setting up and getting prepped for the next day’s work, but we'll welcome anyone who wants to stay for the craft time as well.
  • Floaters: We also need 5-10 people that could serve as floaters during the week—lending a helping hand in classes where we have larger numbers than expected or our regular teachers need a break.