Give Kids the Chance to Serve

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I was thinking the other day about when I was a child at the church, and I remember when I was nine years old, the pastor asked me if I would run sound. Honest to goodness truth. I mean we're talking in big church. The pastor asked me as a nine year old kid if I would run the sound. Now let me mention a couple of things. The church at that point was really, really small, like 20 or 30 or 40 people and the sound consisted of a little box on the front pew with a tape recorder.  Running sound just meant that when it was time for the special music, I pushed play on the tape deck, if you remember tape decks. But you know I thought that I had arrived. The pastor asked me to run sound and then apparently I did such a good job running sound that a few months later he asked me if I would be in charge of making sure he had a glass of water underneath the pulpit on the shelf every Sunday in case he got thirsty when he was preaching. 

Again, I thought I'd arrived. I had a job. I remember I was 12 years old and I started working on a bus route and I started volunteering and the next thing I knew as a 12 year old kid, they made me the bus captain. Can you imagine this? Picking up all these kids on the bus and all of these teenagers and I was the bus captain, which meant at the age of 12, I was the song leader and I was in charge of attendance. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. And then I remember when I was a 13 year old kid and they asked me to work in the Awana program on Thursday nights and I became a Spark leader and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. And you know, looking back on those opportunities, they were great days and I'm so thankful for them. 

The reason I share them with you today is because I'm thankful for a pastor that I've not talked to in years and years and years that asked me as a nine year old kid to run sound and to get him some water. I'm thankful for a bus driver that saw in a 12 year old kid, somebody that could lead songs and take attendance on the church bus and thankful as a 13 year old for a husband and wife team that are still at my church that are great friends that asked me to help them lead their Spark ministry on Wednesday nights. As I think about these stories, I'm reminded that it is so important not only to develop leaders, but even to get kids serving. 

Sometimes we think about kids and we think, man, what can kids do? Or we think that we need volunteers and by default we immediately go to, okay, who are some adults that I can recruit?  But you know, I'm a big believer in giving children and teenagers opportunities to serve. And you know what? They may not do it as well as an adult. They may not do it as well as you do, but you know what? You are making a huge, huge investment in the life of that child. I'm going to tell you as an adult that is still in children's ministry today, I think part of the reason I'm in children's ministry today, part of the reason I'm talking to you children's pastors is because of those opportunities I was given as a kid to serve in children's ministry. So how well are you doing investing in leaders? One of your biggest jobs is leadership development. It is working yourself out of a job. It is really the essence of discipleship is what it is. It is finding another Christian and helping them become a disciple. Part of that discipleship process is learning to serve the Lord.  You can make this investment in the life of a child, a teenager, an adult, or someone who is an elder to you. The important thing is that you are doing this week after week after week.

Your #1 fan,

Ryan

Ryan Frank