Adult Care Provided in the Main Auditorium

Many years ago, at a church I was serving at, an associate pastor did a plug for kids ministry in the Sunday morning announcements. While I always appreciate any recruiting help I can get, the way he expressed the need bothered me. Don’t get me wrong, this was a good pastor and a good friend. His mistake – if it’s even fair to call it a mistake – is a common one. But it still bugged me, because I view children very differently than many other church leaders. What was his offense? He said, “Join Pastor Karl in serving in the Children’s Ministry. After all, kids are the church of tomorrow.” Of course, his statement wasn’t untrue, but it’s hardly why I do children’s ministry and very low on the list of reasons why I recruit others to join me. In fact, I would classify the fact that “kids are the church of tomorrow” as bordering on an irrelevant fact.

How could I express to him later, respectfully, that I do not recruit by pitching the value of kids by what they can contribute someday after they grow up? I waited a few days to pray and consider the best approach and then visited his office. I sat down and asked if he had a minute. He did, so I said, “John (name changed for this article), I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you for your ministry.” He leaned back in his big comfy office chair, looking pleasantly surprised, and said, “Well, thank you. Can I ask why?”

I continued. “Your ministry to adults is so important. You oversee the adult Sunday School classes, the Men’s and Women’s ministry, and even the small groups ministry, and I just have never stopped to say thank you for all that hard work.” John smiled as I continued. “After all, those adults are the senior citizens of tomorrow.” John suddenly looked confused and as he leaned forward bewildered, I asked, “Well, isn’t that why you work so hard to minister to adults? Because of what they will be and do someday in the future?” John didn’t know what to say. He knew I had to have a point, but he was speechless. I smiled so he knew this was in jest. Then I said, “Of course not. You work so hard because those adults need Jesus today. And that’s why I do children’s ministry. Kids aren’t the church of tomorrow. They are the church of today, and they need Jesus today.

John smiled back. (Whew!) He received my point with grace and said, “I understand, and I apologize.” I told him no apology was necessary. There was no offense, I just wanted him to understand that my motivation to minister to kids has nothing to do with the future – it has everything to do with today and what kids need right now. Children are going through hard times today. They need Jesus today. From bullying, to broken families, to disillusionment and disappointment, and so many other challenges. They need Jesus this week. Sure, they might make a big difference someday too – but my calling is to make a difference in their lives this week. That’s why I need volunteers to step up and help. Our mission is critical, and the need is urgent. Ministry to children is not important because of the potential of children. It is important because children need Jesus TODAY.

It’s also why, whenever I’m asked to provide childcare for a church event for adults where they need something for the kids to do, I always enthusiastically accept, and promote it as the main event and put on my flyers and promotion, “Adult Care Provided in the Main Auditorium.”

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