One thought has stuck with me since that night. Children's Ministry often is the "gateway" through which people enter our churches. They are often there for just that season. If we've effectively ministered to them throughout that time, we may earn the privilege of ministering to them in the future when they will need a message of hope.
The sirens and lights got closer to my house and stopped in front of my driveway. As we peered out the window like most curious rednecks in the country, we saw there were people in the road. Assuming there had been an accident, we went outside to assess the situation.
A power line, transformer, and a mangled car were on the edge of property. Because there were downed power lines, we knew we couldn't get close to the car that had careened into a utility pole at 50 mph causing it to split and, as a result, down a transformer which was now leaking some sort of mystery liquid.
I talked with the two girls in the road who had witnessed the accident. They'd been down the road behind the driver. They were safe. We talked to the obviously intoxicated driver of the car and assured him that help was on the way.
As I stared into the car with broken out windows and deployed airbags, I was suddenly struck with the thought that I knew this kid. The more I looked at him, no longer a kid, the more convinced I became. Yes, I had had this now young man in my Children's Ministry years ago.
My heart broke as the realization of the trouble that he faced hit me. He had been on probation and now this? He kept shouting the words, "my life is so #*&*! up." I was broken with the thought that this man felt he had no hope.
The mom in me wanted to get him a blanket to keep warm. The Pastor in me wanted to talk to him and remind him that he did have hope. I was able to do neither because the scene was flooded with emergency personnel. I would never get the chance.
I was heartbroken as the burden I carried for this young man would haunt me for days to come. I want to tell him he has hope, I want to remind him that Jesus loves him.
One thought has stuck with me since that night. Children's Ministry often is the "gateway" through which people enter our churches. They are often there for just that season. If we've effectively ministered to them throughout that time, we may earn the privilege of ministering to them in the future when they will need a message of hope. We may be called upon to conduct wedding services for "kids" we've had in our mnistries. We never know.
The seed had been planted years ago, I now hope to continue to nurture it in some way. He needs to know there is hope. It's my privilege to share that hope with him.
How can we continue relationships that start with a child into the future?
1. Invite them to serve as they become members of the youth group. Oftentimes, these "kids" will stick around.
2. Maintain an "online" presence in their lives. Facebook is great for this sort of thing.
3. As the Lord brings these "kids" to mind, pray for them and let them know you did that via text, email, FB message, etc.
These relationships matter.
How about you? In what ways have you seen Children's Ministry as a "gateway" through which people enter your church, if only for a season?