I love Minecraft. For those who don’t know what it is, it is basically virtual Lego. I run an online community for my son and other kids to play in. (details) It’s fun!
When you play, you get to choose between two basic game modes: Survival and Creative. In CREATIVE – you get access to all the pieces and can build whatever you can imagine! In SURVIVAL – you start out with nothing, and must find or build what you want/need. In Minecraft, the process and making things from other objects is called “Crafting” – you combine certain items to craft new items. For example, sticks and coal can be used to craft a torch.
What does this have to do with Children’s Ministry?
In ministry, we often start out in Survival Mode – we have to start from scratch. Nothing exists! We need to find volunteers, leaders, resources and supplies. We need to create spaces where ministry can take place… and as we build (craft), better options become available. We build upon past successes, learn from mistakes, all while watching out for Creepers and Zombies! These are roaming creatures that are constantly needing to be dealt with and repairs made to what they destroy.
We’ve got our Creepers and Zombies in Kidmin too! Creepers blow up and cause small but annoying damage… you know who the Creepers are in your ministry. (Don’t you?) Zombies attack you. You don’t have to be in ministry long to learn that attacks will come. Not only is it painful, they cause ministry set-backs.
The danger is that we can get so busy building, fixing and dealing with the interruptions that we never make it into Creative Mode. In Minecraft, switching to Creative Mode requires an intentional command… but everything changes. The Creepers no longer explode, the Zombies ignore you, and you can build whatever you want with unlimited access to resources. It’s time to get amazing!
What’s the secret to getting into Creative Mode in Kidmin? It takes intentionality too, but you can do it. You have to STOP what you are doing. You need to get away. And then you need to dream. Pray. Plan. Prepare. Do the things you can’t do in Survival Mode.
But here is a warning. You can’t stay in Creative Mode permanently. In Minecraft and in Ministry, you’ll soon get bored and you’ll start to miss the challenge of Survival. You feel more significance with things you build in Survival Mode, because you built in the midst of challenges.
You need both.
If you haven’t been in Creative Mode for awhile… if you feel stuck in Survival Mode, perhaps it is time to change modes for a bit. Dream and pray about what you would do if you could do anything. What if space, volunteers, and money were limitless, what would you do? Amazing things never happen that weren’t first dreamed or imagined. Get in Creative Mode regularly. Schedule it. Go nuts!
Then return to Survival Mode… and address the challenges of your ministry. The key is that you need to keep a healthy balance between Creative and Survival. Survival will provide challenges and opportunities for God to work, and Creative will open doors to new possibilities and opportunities.
Or maybe you are actually stuck in Creative Mode – and not addressing things that need to be dealt with. The ministry is slowly being undermined by things you aren’t monitoring as you should. You are focusing mostly on the things you enjoy and hoping “those other things” will just go away or resolve themselves. (They won’t.) At some point, you need to deal with them directly and decisively.
What mode are you in today?