I am blessed to have some friends who are amazing Children's Pastors. In fact, these friends are literally spread all over the country. They all have wonderful ministries and do all sorts of inventive things to reach the kids in their communities and I have learned from all of them. But perhaps the most important thing that I have learned from them, is that I can not BE them.
All of us are unique. We all have different gifts and talents and while we need to connect and grow and learn from others, we must always remember to be true to the way that God created us to do ministry. Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about.
My Mom is gifted at telling a story with flannel graph. All growing up, I watched her tell stories and seamlessly move from through different parts of the story and while changing the brightly colored flannel graph pictures and she kept the attention of every kid in the room. There are not many people anymore who use flannel graph the way they used to. Most of us, prefer to use video clips or some sort of live action drama instead. And that's to be expected because few of us really have the gift to be able to tell a story in that medium. But I'm sure that if I asked my Mom to come and do a flannel graph story for the kids at my church, that even my media driven kids, would be riveted until she was done. She simply has that gift. I, however, do not. And I know that if I tried to tell a story with flannel graph I would lose the children by the second sentence. I admire my Mom's ability, but I can not duplicate what she does.
Some Children's Pastors are great a doing magic tricks that teach kids about Jesus. Others write their own music to go along with their programming. Still others use ventriloquism or puppets in their services. And for them, it works great. But, while I find it amazing that there are those who have those gifts, I do not. And that's okay.
What I'm saying this week is to not try to be like someone else. Be the minister that God created you to be. Study other children's ministries and pick and choose things that you can integrate into your services and make your own, but don't try to do something just because So and So does it. God chose you to minister to the children in your church. So be YOU. Don't ever stop learning from others because that is how we grow, but always take what you learn and fit it to you. Don't try to fit into someone else's ministry box. That will only leave you frustrated.
It's scary to put so much of yourself into what you do, but it's the only way to really be the kind of children's worker that God has called you to be. So be bold. Be passionate. Be forever learning. But always be you!