I've written in the past about why pastors should be involved in children's and student ministries, in addition to why pastors should spend at least one Sunday in the nursery or preschool department.
Today I want to be more specific about pastors serving with toddlers for one Sunday:
- Toddlers have energy and life—and some of us need more of both. I'm writing this post after spending the morning with toddlers at our church, and to be honest, I'm tired. Those little ones kept us on the go as they ran around—but that's not all bad. Some days, I need that kind of energy.
- Teaching toddlers will stretch your teaching ability. When you're used to teaching adults who generally sit still and listen, it's quite a challenge to teach toddlers who don't want to sit still (and probably shouldn't be required to) and don't want to listen. On the other hand, we'll communicate better with adults if we learn to teach the Bible so a toddler will understand.
- You'll probably be blessed by the simplicity of their worship. Today, we tried our best to sing songs like, "Do Lord," "The B.I.B.L.E." and "I'm in the Lord's Army." Those songs aren't deep theologically, but I can't explain how much fun—and inspiring—it was for me to sing songs I hadn't sung in 40-plus years.
- Serving with the toddlers might force you to see your own need to grow in sanctification. That is to say, you might learn quickly when leading toddlers that you're easily frustrated, impatient, anxious and sometimes not very loving. The Lord will use these little ones to mold you.
- We need to model this ministry for other men in the church. Most churches need more males (fully vetted through the church's security scrutiny, of course, as all workers should be) serving with the little ones, and pastors can help lead the way.
- You'll pray more for the toddlers after you've spent a morning with them. They don't seem to have a care in the world, but they're facing a world filled with temptation, struggle and heartache. I want to be praying now for their salvation and their witness among the nations; in fact, I've just prayed for each of the toddlers in our room this morning.
- All of us will benefit from serving little ones who cannot offer us praise, affirmation and power. Indeed, if we're unwilling to serve with toddlers for a Sunday, we may not be fully ready to preach to adults on Sunday, either.
What other reasons come to mind for you?
Chuck Lawless is dean of doctoral studies and vice president of spiritual formation and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is team leader for theological education strategists for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
For the original article, visit chucklawless.com.
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