You walk into the church on a Sunday morning and find that you've forgotten the prop you needed for your object lesson. You quickly go to your plan B which is a craft to reinforce the lesson instead. Then, when you go to make the copies you need for the craft, you find the copy machine is down and you have no way of fixing it. Once you finally get your Plan C in place with 30 minutes left before the kids arrive and you walk into the Children's Church room to find that all the chairs that you had set out for service the day before have vanished because someone needed them for their event the night before and didn't return them. So, you run to the other side of the building to get your chairs back and finally get them in place with just enough time to get the computer up and running with your pre-service videos. Finally...ready for church...then you get the text from your Preschool teacher saying that she won't be there because she woke up vomiting. You quickly put Plan D into action, which includes the preschool staying with the rest of the children for Children's Church, plant your smile on your face, say a quick prayer asking God for help to get through this crazy day and march on with Children's Church.
This, my friend, is Children's Ministry. And while, thankfully, it is not always that hectic, those days do come. And when they do, sometimes all we want to do is go home and hide. Or perhaps throw in the towel and get a less stressful job (like joining the bomb squad as an old cartoon once said). But really all we need is a little encouragement. A few words from someone to remind us that we are doing a good job and that things are not always as crazy as they are at the moment.
Several years ago, someone I was working with passed along to me some really good advice that had been given to him years before. He told me to put together an encouragement file. Basically, it is a place where you put things that you have been given that encouraged you. It could be a picture from one of the kids that says, "I love you Pastor," a Scripture that really spoke to you, or a card you received from a parent telling you that they appreciated the work you did on an event. Perhaps an email that you printed out from your Senior Pastor telling you that he/she appreciated the extra hours you put in for such and such a program is in the file or maybe it includes a note you wrote yourself reminding you of the date that a specific child found the Lord. It really can be anything, but it must be something that you can go you and it reminds you why you are in Children's Ministry. Then on those especially hard days, you can go to your folder and flip through those words and allow God to use them to encourage you once again.
Then, you can sit down and write a note encouraging someone else. After all, you have just been a recipient of how positive words can turn your day around. So maybe now it is your turn to add to someone else's "Encouragement file." Words are powerful. We should use them to encourage one another often.
Until next week!