This Kids Korner is from GenMin national coordinator Jeff Broadnax.
This month, as we step into a new season of children’s ministry, let’s play the game Simon Says.
I imagine you’re familiar with this game. It teaches children to outwit, outlast and outplay their friends to become the lone survivor (no desert island involved!). All you need to excel is patience and a keen ability to listen for the words “Simon says” before following the instruction given.
Our version of the game will involve two men named Simon. The first is a well-known leadership consultant, author and speaker named Simon Sinek who, according to his bio, leads “a movement to build a world in which the vast majority of us are inspired by the work we do.” The second Simon, also well-known, was a disciple of Jesus named Simon Peter. According to Scripture, he was commissioned by Jesus to be both a fisher of men and a shepherd to the Lord’s flock, the church. I hope the lessons we learn from both Simons will inform and inspire our ministry to children.
Simon Sinek: start with why
If someone asked you to describe your children’s ministry, where would you begin? With your curriculum? Your student-teacher ratio? The snacks you provide, or the fun activities your kids enjoy? Though all these are important, Simon Sinek would tell you to begin not with what you provide, or with how you provide it. Instead, as indicated by the title of his well-known book, he would tell you to Start with Why.
Imagine the impact it would have if you started your reply by saying, “Let me tell you why I love being involved in ministry to children.” Sinek has it right—addressing what we do or how we do it should come only after we have addressed (with passion and boldness!) why we do it.
Simon says… take time this month to prayerfully determine (in order to be able to boldly state), why you are engaged in ministry to children.
Simon Peter: start with who
As Jesus’ miracle-working ministry progressed, Simon Peter and the rest of our Lord’s disciples were encountering people trying to figure out who their miracle-working Master was. Some said he was the resurrected John the Baptist. Others thought he might be Elijah or Jeremiah or another of the prophets. So Jesus asked the group, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus then responded to Peter, first saying that the Father in heaven had given Peter this insight, then challenging Peter to join in building Jesus’ church. Notice that Simon Peter’s insight concerning who Jesus is preceded and thus informed the why and what of his ministry. And so should it be with us in our ministry to children in Christ’s name.
Simon says… take some time this month to prayerfully focus on who children’s ministry is about, and who you want the children to say he is. Then (and only then), Simon says… answer why you are engaged in children’s ministry.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about the who and why of your ministry to children. You can record your thoughts in the “Leave a reply” box below, or email them to me at Jeffrey.Broadnax@gci.org.