The following is written by Michelle Ferrell, a leader in Northstar KiDS. I think it could my story or your story as well.
Marty Martin often talks about being transparent during a sermon. I am going to try to be equally as transparent when I tell you my motive and reasons for volunteering to work as a leader in the KiDS program at Northstar.
I originally signed up to be a substitute because of the guilt I felt when I attended a luncheon at church. During that luncheon we were told that help was needed in the KiDS ministry. When hearing the ministry needed more leaders, I decided I just could not ignore the request for help. I decided to give it a try. But right on the heels of that emotional decision, I started to second guess the wisdom of offering to help. My pragmatic side was asking in a very loud and convincing voice: “what were you thinking?” My two daughters were seven and five. I had just survived raising two small children and I has just volunteered to teach other people’s children. Am I crazy was a reoccurring thought in those first few days.
But I had signed up and decided to see it through. I was asked to be a substitute. I subbed a few times, having no clue what I was doing. The reality was that being fairly new to the church, I was concerned that I would be teaching kids the Bible that I did not know that well myself. How was I going to teach what I didn’t know yet myself?
After 6 months I was asked to be a permanent leader along with another leader. I said yes again and the whole process of second guessing myself started the spin cycle all over again. I had a great leader and mentor working with me. I learned a great deal from her on how to interact and teach the kids.
That wonderful leader was moved to another class, so I found myself teaching with the aid of a teenage assistant. I was scared. After all, the parents trust me to take care of their children for an hour, trust me to augment or start teaching them about God and His love for them. Now, I am a big girl, and have handled bumps in my life, but this big responsibility weighed on me to be sure.
But, here is the bottom line. The kids would come in each week and one by one they stole my heart. The kids evolved from being scared and yelling and crying, or standing like little statues in the corners of the room. The went from cling ons to confident, walking into the room without looking back. The crying was replaced by smiles and laughter. And the shy little girl, who took a year to open up and talk, is now talking and laughing and saying her memory verse to me each week. I can’t even tell you my favorites as they are all favorites now. I look forward to seeing them each week and I think they look forward to coming to church each week as well.
I want our kids to have more fun than ever at church. And I want our kids to fall more in love with Jesus. It is always an honor and a privilege to be a part of what God is doing. I look forward to seeing them each week and it is so easy to get attached to them. The hardest part now, is seeing them leave my class and moving up to the next level class. My reward is the big hugs I get from each one when they see me.
I learned that what I thought was pressure to do something, was God steering me where He wanted me to go. Fear is normal, and God gave me a mentor to learn from to take that fear away. I don’t fear what I don’t know anymore. The kids and I learn together. I view that hour each week as an opportunity to have some fun, to act a little crazy and hope that I have succeeded in planting a seed that will begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. I also hope I make the parent’s life a little easier getting to church as their kids want to come to church and spend an hour with me.
1. 2 Corinthians 4:15 says, “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” How do you think God can use you to extend his grace to more and more people?
2. Northstar encourages each of its members and regular attenders to participate by serving. Do you believe that you are gifted to serve? What gift(s) has God entrusted to you? How are you using your gift(s) to serve others? What are some additional ways or places where you could exercise your gift(s)? I would encourage you to attend the Ministry 301 class. In this class you will be given the opportunity to discover your unique S-H-A-P-E for ministry and how God can use you to serve others.
3. Research indicates a direct correlation between spiritual contentment and using our God-given gift(s). Have you experienced that? If so, did you find that statement to be true?
4. I hope you carefully read Michelle’s story. For a long time she saw herself as a leader in kids ministry by default. She didn’t set out to be in children’s ministry. However, as you look back, I believe you can see God ordering her steps by overcoming the natural apprehensive she had. Today, she believes the KiDS Ministry is where it’s at. Are you experiencing the same fear that Michelle did? I encourage you pray and ask God to show you where you should serve and to give you the courage to do so.