I could hardly believe it when I woke up on June 5, 2013 and couldn’t stand up straight. My back had an awful shooting pain that ran straight through my right leg and out my little toe. It was excruciating, but I thought it was just the fact that I had slept strangely. The pain didn’t go away and about a week into it, I visited an orthopaedic surgeon who told me that I had a ruptured disc. He recommended surgery, but I asked for conservative treatment. He recommended physical therapy and weight loss.
Weight loss was a funny concept for me. For several months, I had really been thinking about losing weight, but people who knew me as a child through my early 20s would never have guessed I would have a weight problem one day. I mean, I was 110 pounds on my wedding day. Over the years, my bad food habits and slowing metabolism shot my weight over 210 pounds. I am a small framed guy with legs like a chicken, so the weight was very evident!
Now, 4 months later, I’m down 35 pounds and it wasn’t easy! I learned some things about kids ministry during my journey as well. Here are some thoughts.
1. Resource rooms are a lot like weight gain.
Resource rooms start out looking great with organized boxes of craft supplies. Then over time they become disasters of dried glue sticks and partially used sheets of construction paper. Like weight loss, resource rooms take work. I liken it to my daily routine of trying to get in some cardio. You must work at keeping it clean. It might start slow, but a messy resource room is as unuseful to teachers as an extra 15 pounds on your waistline.
2. Your kids ministry resembles the things you consume.
Are you focusing on entertaining the kids in your ministry or are you focusing on teaching them biblical truths? In and of themselves, I don’t have a problem with either one of these. A kids ministry focused on entertainment is going to result in biblically illiterate kids. A kids ministry solely focused on teaching kids biblical truths will lead to disinterested kids. It’s like forcing kids to eat brocolli for every meal.
At no moment in ministry should you ever sacrifice biblical accuracy, but there are fun ways to teach the Bible. If you aren’t doing things that will get your kids excited, kids and families will move on to a church that is. There has to be balance though. I’ve learned that I cannot live on just salad. I like different flavors of food too much. I’ve also learned that I need them in smaller doses.
3. There is no magic pill to kids ministry.
There isn’t a shake, a pill, or some guaranteed-to-work cream. Believe me, I’ve tried them. No amount of giant boxes of curriculum or having your inflatable rental guy on speed dial will automatically make you have an amazing ministry to kids. It takes work, sweat, and determination. It’s not going to happen overnight and it’s not even going to happen in the course of a couple of weeks.
You have to be determined. You have to count your calories. You have to exercise. You have to sweat. You can do it. It just takes work.
Jeff Land loves Life! That’s pretty great, because his job here at Lifeway is the Team Leader for Bible Studies for Life: Kids. Jeff loves his life which is so blessed by his amazing wife, Abbey, and their four sons, Reed, Nash, Will, and Tuck. A natural encourager and fun-lover, look for Jeff’s posts about teacher appreciation and game ideas. When not serving at work, Jeff serves 2nd graders at his church, First Baptist Church, Joelton, TN.