Leave ‘Em Better

Today, I want to share a thought that I got via e-mail from a friend of mine – a CP in Florida who is an “off the charts” super kids pastor. Not because she is well known, or runs a huge ministry, or for any of the reasons we tend to look for in the “Kidmin Who’s Who’s” – but because she has a HUGE heart for kids and Jesus. I talked about Shelly in the Kidmin Podcast, “It’s All About Jesus!” I love her personal motto, which comes in handy quite a bit in kids ministry. When things don’t always go as planned, you’ll hear Shelly say, “It’s All Good.” She even has it up on the wall of her office as a constant reminder, when God is in control, and you are trusting Him, “It’s All Good!”

8itsallgood-shellysexton

“It’s All Good!”

Shelly writes:

Hello Friends!

I want to share something that God whispered to me the last two minutes before I walked out the doors of a conference our staff recently attended.

I was in the bathroom… the conference was over and I had dashed back in before we hit the road home. As I was washing my hands, I noticed a piece of paper towel on the floor. After I dried my hands I bent over, grabbed that paper towel and threw it in the waste can. As I was throwing it in, I was smiling as I was hearing the words, “leave it better than you found it.” (This is a saying I have carried with me my whole life.) As I was smiling God whispered to me, “That is what you do with the children each week.” And I stopped cold. I was the only one in the bathroom and I was so happy about that because I got to relish the moment and soak in it.

It’s true. Let me explain.

Do  you remember our philosophy of ministry from wayyyyy back when you first read the CM Manual? Our Children’s Ministry ministry is W.I.L.D.E. about kids! When they are with us our goal is the following:

That we ARE:

  • Worshiping with Joy (Reaching Up.. we teach this and model this with them)
  • Intentionally seeking God’s Truth (Reaching In.  discipleship. Teaching the Word)
  • Loving kids and leaders right where they’re at  (Grace. All the way around. Patience. Compassion)
  • Developing and Deepening our relationship with Jesus and others (Reaching In. Discipleship. Fellowship)
  • Exploring new and fun ways to tell about our Faith (Reaching Out. teaching kids to share their Hope! (Keeping the Good News fresh for the kids.)

When we do the above, we are leaving the Kids “better than we found them,” or “better than when they walked through our doors.” Every time you are a part of loving them, teaching them, guiding them, speaking  and correcting with LOVE, modeling grace and patience… you are “leaving their hearts better” than when they walked in. You are nourishing their souls. They don’t know it, but we do! No matter your role in CM, you are a part of this beautiful impartation!

Someone asked me this week what my vision is for children’s ministry. That is such a complicated question! But the bottom line, as God whispered to me, is that we, as a team, bound together with one vision from God, is to “leave them better than we found them,” filled with TRUTH…  and as they look back with us, they will remember there is a place of safety and of love and that place is Jesus.

I will leave you with one more thought…..

If you are tired, find time to get alone with Jesus. This should be a priority for us, not an afterthought or the last thing on our list of a busy day. It is so life giving! I love this line from a new song I learned, “There’s a calm that covers me when I kneel down at your feet. It’s a place of freedom, It ‘s a place where I find healing.” (Highlands Worship)

Leave Em Better!
– Shelly

Me and Shelly from “way back” when I first met her at a CPC.

I think that’s some pretty good advice that we all can take to heart and think about this coming Sunday. Thanks, Shelly, for all your encouragement over the years and for loving Jesus and Kids so much, it’s contagious!

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