From one generation to another, we are bridging the gap. As we embrace and embody those with whom we REACH, we are able to shape and mould them to likewise do the same. At the most recent North American Division (NAD) Children’s Ministry training event held in Brea, Calif., many influential people came together to see how we can best use our gifts, talents, and abilities to touch the lives of our very young people so that they can get to know who Jesus Christ is.
We have realized that children are the very essence of who Jesus is; they identify and demonstrate their childlike love much like the agape love that Jesus has for all people. When we REACH the little ones, they in turn REACH others. As the worship tune “Pass It On” says, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it. You spread his love to everyone; you want to pass it on.”
In children’s ministry, mentoring doesn’t happen only from adult to child but also from child to child. As we learn to mentor and equip, train, and model, our mentees begin to grow as children of God when they are using the gifts, talents, and abilities God has endowed them with. This experiential learning never stops. It is always ongoing because learning is always ongoing!
This year is the first year that a child has attended an NAD Children’s Ministry training event—not just as a participant but also as becoming a member of the NAD Children’s Ministry Leaders team. Eleven-year-old Madison Matthews from Newfoundland and Labrador was warmly welcomed and embraced in this new role. She appreciated learning as the adult leaders learned, and, when asked by Noelene Johnsson, founder of Children’s Ministry, what she liked best about Children’s Ministry, Madison simply responded, “I like working with children.”
One takeaway that impacted Madison and challenged her was to implement a practical way of helping children in need—How can I reach out to children who are in need and need the love of Jesus? She decided that she would like to start a Birthday Bag program at the local food bank with her Adventurer/Pathfinder club.
As we all work together, the kingdom of God will have more recipients of God’s grace coming together to spend eternity with the King of kings.