My kids love Minecraft. They play it on their devices. They frequently watch Minecraft music videos on YouTube and even have Minecraft toys. My oldest son is certain that an Xbox will be the pinnacle of his Minecraft dreams because his friend Mia has Minecraft on her Xbox.
The constant sound of Minecraft chickens or “Don’t Mine at Night” music videos playing in my head left me thinking about how Minecraft might apply to our lives as Kids Ministers. Here are some lessons I’ve learned from Minecraft:
1. You might need to change modes. My sons are always asking each other, “Are you in creative or survival?” I see kids ministers all of the time in one of these modes. The creatives have packed their calendars and are spending every waking moment at the church. They are constantly thinking of the new and better thing. They switch curriculum constantly and aren’t taking any time for themselves. They need to move to survival for a while and experience the kids in their ministries. There are some kidmin that I see that have been in survival for far too long. They are still doing the same things they did at the church before the church that they are at now. It’s time for them to get creative. Kids today are different. They still have the same needs, but the way you minister to those needs is different.
2. It’s good to work together. My boys love to play Minecraft together. And by together, I mean, somehow (I really don’t know how!) they figure out which world one is in and the others join him in that world and they play Minecraft together both virtually and sitting side-by-side. Many kidmin just don’t know how to work with others. Realizing that you can ask others to help and work alongside you will take you further in ministry than you can ever go on your own. You will never find someone who is going to do things EXACTLY like you want them, but there some people who can get pretty close. Playing with others requires you to realize that you might have to be OK with doing something differently.
3. You need rest. It’s usually Nash that yells at Reed while playing Minecraft, “The sun is going down, you have to go to bed!” I think it’s funny that even Minecraft people go to bed. Kids ministers need rest. I see many ministers in general that neglect their days off and overload their calendars aimlessly trying to please everyone. Take a break, take a day off, rest.
4. You can build a bridge to nowhere. One of the things my boys enjoy most about Minecraft is the fact that they can build things almost anywhere. I’ve seen lots of kids ministries being built, but sometimes I wonder where they are going. Ministries built on loose Bible teaching and lots of fun aren’t laying much of a foundation for the kids to stand firm on when life’s storms occur. It’s important that kidmin set a direction for their ministries and that they know where it is that they want their kids to be when it is time for them to move to the youth group. It’s totally okay for kids to have fun at church, but it’s awesome for kids to have fun at church while learning about Jesus.
5. Sometimes you need to start over. My boys have a problem with starting too many different worlds on Minecraft which inevitably leads to them having to delete some worlds. It’s sad to see a once vibrant kids minister become stagnant and no longer fruitful. It might be time for him or her to start over. God calls us to different places in our ministries. If you have become stagnant, it might be time to start looking for a new place of service where you can be revived and renewed. You might be able to do this just by resetting your current ministry, or it may require a move to a new church. Whatever it is, keep it fresh, new, exciting, and pointing toward Jesus!
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.