In October 2002 I was approached by LifeWay to consider an opportunity to join their team as the Lead Childhood Ministry Specialist. To be honest, it was a dream come true. For years I had found that the favorite part of my work as a Children’s Minister was the opportunity to train and develop other leaders. It really wasn’t ever a struggle to move forward with LifeWay and one of the greatest blessings in my life was to be invited and then to accept the position as ministry specialist.
LifeWay is an incredible place to serve. Over the past 16+ years, God has allowed me to live my dream. Meeting thousands of KidMin leaders and having the opportunity to partner with you and in some way minister along side of you has been an incredible gift and a blessing that I don’t take lightly. Your trust and confidence in me has been both honoring and humbling. What a joy to do what God calls and creates you to do. Thank you for that privilege.
About a year ago, God started something new in my life. Something very unexpected and something I had really not considered as part of my future. I’ve often said, “God is preparing me for what He is preparing for me.” That’s exactly what was happening. I began to have conversations with an incredible team of ministers/friends and my heart started to be pulled back to the ministry in a local church. By January the conversations were in full swing and my heart was moving west.
After much prayer and with a humble heart I have accepted my next assignment by God as the Minister to Children at Houston’s First Baptist Church (Texas). I will join that awesome ministry team and begin a new chapter of God’s journey for me on August 1.
As I look to the future I take so much with me from you. Learning from church leaders and their experiences has prepared me for this time. When it comes to kids ministry, these three things stand out as pillars:
The Gospel: Children’s ministry should have at its core a desire to see boys and girls come to know Jesus Christ and experience heart transformation that only comes from a real encounter with Him. Children’s ministry should point boys and girls and their families to Jesus and His salvation with each program and activity “umbrellaed” by the Gospel; seeking opportunities to share the good news and equip parents, leaders, and kids to share the good news of Jesus, too.
Discipleship: We desperately need boys and girls to be salt and light in the world in which they live and to grow up to be culture shapers. Churches cannot continue to raise generations who don’t know what they believe. Many “church-attending” kids have no defense when the world rattles their faith and they too often cave to the pressures of political correctness and a lost culture.
Discipling boys and girls past the point of conversion, to a growing, loving relationship with Jesus must become a priority. Children’s Ministry must help kids understand and live out spiritual disciplines/habits/practices that lead them to become culture-changing Christians grounding kids. Knowledge and practice of spiritual habits (such as prayer, Bible reading and study, worship, stewardship, and service) will lead kids to become Great Commission, Great Commandment, Acts 1:8, culture shaping followers of Jesus.
Family: Healthy Children’s ministry recognizes the biblical role of parents and strives to undergird that role by seeing the kids ministry through the lens of family.
I believe that God intends for parents to be the primary spiritual leaders and faith developers of their children. Children’s ministry has the privilege of coming alongside parents to partner with them on their child’s spiritual journey. We have the opportunity to champion families, encourage and equip parents, and provide disciple-growing programs and events that undergird and promote the family.
So, these are the things I take with me as I look forward to this next phase of my ministry. These are the lessons/goals I walk away with as I strive to be the servant God has called me to be in Houston. However, I do have one last request of you. Please pray for me. Please pray that God will use me to achieve these (and many other) goals. Pray that I will be humble yet bold; moldable yet solid; vulnerable to new things yet strongly rooted. Pray that in all this, God will receive ALL the glory for it is only through Him that I have been able to do anything of eternal difference. And, it is only through His power that I will make the Kingdom difference that I desire.
Bill Emeott has served as Lead Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Kids since 2003. He is a graduate of Mercer University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Bill has served in Kids Ministry for almost 30 years and recently accepted the role as Minister to Children at Houston’s First Baptist Church.