I’m the one in the middle who’s CLEARLY never been a morning person.
Dear Children’s Church Worker,
I know we don’t spend a lot of time together. Mostly I just hand my kids over to you and say a quick “thank you” before I go to the adult service to soak up some Jesus. So today I just want to take the time so say a NOT so quick “thank you”—and to say something else—what you’re doing matters.
I may be in a hurry to get to the service, but even so—I see you, Children’s Church Worker. I see you if you’re a busy parent hustling your own kids off to class so you can welcome your own students. I see you, the single young adult taking time to minister to kids even though you don’t yet have any of your own. I see you, empty-nester, pouring into little lives every Sunday and longing for the days when your own kids were that little. And the fact that you are taking time out of your busy schedule to help prepare my kid’s heart for a relationship with Jesus? Oh, how your service means the WORLD to this mama.
Ask me why.
Ok, I’ll tell you.
I grew up in a Christian family, and I attended a Christian school. We went to church every Sunday (morning and night!) and Wednesday, too. So I got Jesus seven days a week—from my parents, my teachers, and at church. On Sundays at church, we had Sunday school class first, and then after Sunday school, instead of going with our parents into “big church” as we called it, we went to “Children’s Church”.
And that was where the magic happened, where the Bible and God and Jesus really came alive.
Our church gym had a stage set with a backdrop of a storytelling machine called “Mr. Goodnews” and a fabulous puppet show. There were felt board Bible stories, Jesus-loving puppets, interaction and Bible verses that really came to life. Children’s Church was a huge bright spot in my week. We learned about the Bible, and how it applied to us—even to us little kids! We sang songs and learned how to praise God and truly worship.
All this was thanks to some very dedicated volunteer Children’s Church workers, but two stand out in particular, Mary Ann Huber, a mom of two, who was basically the “woman behind the curtain” when it came to Mr. Goodnews, and a single woman, a teacher by trade, named Ginny Schultz.
These women doubtless had many other ways they could be spending their time, but they chose to spend their Sunday mornings shepherding the hearts of grade schoolers (and who knows how many hours during the week preparing to do so). Their sacrifice made a huge difference in the lives of so many of us kids, I am positive, but I can only give you details on just one.
Because I met Jesus at Children’s Church.
One Sunday when I was 8 years old, after Mr. Goodnews and the puppets had told us all about Jesus again, the gospel was presented to us very clearly, as it doubtless had been many times before. But this time, it CLICKED. I can’t tell you what the Bible story or lesson was that day, but I can tell you how it ended. When the teacher asked if anyone wanted to ask Jesus to forgive their sins and live in their heart, I can remember clear as day the realization of “I NEED TO DO THAT” washing over me. I understood that this Jesus I’d been hearing about my whole life came to earth for ME, died for ME, took all of MY sins and carried them on his back with that cross. And I knew I needed to ask for His forgiveness, and give my life to Him.
So I went forward that day in Children’s Church, and the young teacher Ginny Schultz took me aside to one of the Sunday school rooms, just the two of us. As we sat in that room, she explained the gospel clearly again. She made sure my 8-year-old heart and mind GOT it. I received salvation that day, and it’s the best gift I’ve ever been given, the best decision I’ve ever made.
And it happened in Children’s Church. Thanks to Mr. Goodnews, God’s grace, to Mary Ann Huber and Ginny Schultz. Thanks to people just like you.
Children’s church worker, what you are doing matters. Whether you are wiping butts and snotty noses in the baby class, or passing out goldfish snacks and singing B-I-B-L-E with the 3-year-olds, or teaching my 9-year-old daughter the JOY of worship, or teaching my 12-year-old how to stand strong in your faith through the perils of junior high, oh…it MATTERS. You are making an eternal, eternal difference in the little lives you’re pouring into each week.
And I’m SO grateful. To the Sunday volunteers who made an impression on my 8-year-old heart and to the Sunday volunteers who love on my 5, 9, and 12-year-olds each week. THANK YOU! You are my heroes. You are being Jesus to these kids, you are saying “let the little children come to me,” and you are giving them something they will carry with them always.
In short, my friends, you are changing the world for good. You are living out the Great Commission every time you welcome my babies into your classroom. And I can never fully express my gratitude.
When you are tired on Saturday night preparing lessons, thank you. When you are whipped on Sunday afternoon from giving your all to a bunch of needy kids through two services, thank you. When you are taking that child aside and explaining the joy of Jesus’ gift on the cross one-on-one, thank you.
And well done, good and faithful servants. Well done.