As a mom and former children’s director at a large multi-site, metropolitan mega-church, I have seen the importance of parents needing to serve the church — both the local church-body and the bigger “C,” the body of Christ.
This lesson was revealed to me after hearing “No” countless times when approaching parents to serve in our children’s ministry. It wasn’t always straight-up no; but, there were plenty of versions of it. For example: “I don’t really know how to teach kids” or “Sunday mornings are our only time to worship,” or — my personal favorite — “Can’t the college kids do it?” Now, before I point the finger at any of these excuses, I must reconcile the fact that I myself have told many a children’s director the same things or hid in the bathroom until they passed by and I could make a clear getaway before being asked to teach the two-year-olds!
The truth is, we live in a culture where church rhythms are changing. For many of us, Sunday morning is the only organized time of meeting on campus while small group meetings are held in homes. Our lives are so busy during the week that we want Sundays to feel like a true Sabbath. We need to ask ourselves, however, “What does not serving communicate to my child?” One must wrestle with the question: if mom and dad don’t serve the church, will their children do the same when they are older?
One of my favorite memories of my mom is of her sitting in her favorite chair on Saturday nights with her Bible and her lesson, studying to teach her 9th grade girls the next morning. I also remember helping host parties for her girls to come over and eat a meal, do crafts, bake cookies, and so on. She didn’t just put in her time on Sunday mornings so the division coordinator would leave her alone, she was truly discipling them and — without even trying — she was preparing me to serve one day. It took me “seeing” her model what serving the body of Christ looked like in order for me to believe that was a calling on my life as I grew into my own spiritual giftings.
We all go through seasons where serving is hard and requires sacrifice. Jesus is worth that sacrifice — and so are our children. We can trust Him to provide rest and Sabbath while we also serve. Whether it is teaching kids, chaperoning a student event, or serving on the parking team, let’s remember that little eyes are seeing our actions and believing that they too are called to serve the body of Christ.
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of Kids Ministry Publishing. Jana brings a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and curriculum writing. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children attend Forest Hills Baptist Church where she teaches The Gospel Project to preteen girls.