Programs vs. Presence

I recently heard this statement about the effort people put into their bodies vs the effort put into their character: “We invest a lot into our bodies. But our bodies are temporary, and our character is eternal.” Isn’t that so true? There’s lots of people who put endless amounts of time into staying in shape or spending money for healthy food, gym memberships, or home workout equipment, yet that’s only temporary. Our character is part of the legacy we leave when we’re gone. Many focus on the outward, less important things in life and forget the most important eternal things.

The Holy Spirit helped me apply this to the kidmin world. Programs, curriculum, and decor are often given the most time and money yet they are only temporary. But when kids encounter God  through constant time in His presence, what He does in those times lasts forever. We need more kids ministries focused on allowing kids to encounter their Heavenly Father than the feeling they just went to Disneyland. Of course, we want to make our kids ministries fun and exciting, a place where kids want to be. But that can’t be the only focus. It MUST be a both/and with the main thing being His presence.

Here are some easy ways to make sure your kids ministry is presence-driven rather than program-driven.

1. Ask for it!
Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." The kids ministry service should be bathed in prayer. Asking for kids to hear from the Lord and encounter Him should be top priority leading toward Sunday. Why would you start anywhere else but asking for it?

2. Cultivate it! 

If you don’t use opportunities every week to teach kids what it’s like to spend time in God’s presence through worship, prayer, and listening, then kids will never learn. Use an object lesson as a teaching opportunity going into slow worship, challenge kids to pray out loud for 30 seconds to a minute. When you help kids get “small wins” under their belts, it encourages them to keep going. As kidmin leaders, is our job to create environments for kids to hear from the Holy Spirit.

3. Repeat it! 

It’s not rocket science! Just like going to the gym to work out isn’t. If you make time for it, you will reap the fruit. It’s a matter of making it a priority. Make the response time a requirement in your service schedule. Repeating it allows kids to be comfortable with spending time at the altar in God’s presence and having life changing encounters. 
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