What if I gave you two pots? One pot drains well and is full of nutrient-rich soil. The other pot is clogged and full of rocks and sand. While it is possible that something might grow in the sand, it is a much less likely that a plant will grow there.
This scenario is not like the parable of the sower, which has more to do with growth. This illustration has more to do with when life begins. It’s the picture of the “mountain-top experience.” One of the most common times for spiritual life to begin is when the soil is most fertile and the environment is perfect.
Did you know that two-thirds of all Christians make the decision to follow Christ before their 18th birthday and that half of those make the decision before they become a teenager? In other words, the human heart is most fertile during the childhood years of a person’s life. If you are in Kids Ministry, you are working with the most fertile soil! (Read Evangelism is Most Effective Among Kids.)
So what about the pot? The soil is good, but you want to increase the chances that a decision might be made to follow Jesus. What does that container/environment look like?
I have about 60 people that serve on my team at LifeWay Kids. This past year, during one-on-one conversations, I surveyed the team to find out when most of them had made the decision to follow Christ. With very few exceptions, the decision to follow Christ was made at an event … a mountain-top experience … a VBS … a camp.
If you know that kids are primed to respond to the gospel and that great events — like the ones listed above — are the best environments, why wouldn’t you strategically plan them into your ministry year? Why wouldn’t you do a VBS? Why wouldn’t you take your kids to camp? I won’t address the issues and challenges for making these types of events happen, but I will suggest that they are worth it, no matter the challenge.
Stay tuned for part-two. We’ll talk about why this happens and where it all started. (Yes, there is a historical reference for the term.) We’ll also discuss the dangers of relying on “mountain-tops.”
Jeffrey Reed serves as the Director of Kids Ministry for LifeWay. He came to LifeWay with a wide variety of ministry experiences including worship leader, director of children’s ministry, and executive leadership in several growing congregations. Jeffrey’s posts will give your heart and brain a workout, just like the fitness Boot Camp he leads in the mornings for LifeWay employees. Jeffrey and his wife Katherine have four kids.