I love kids!
Well, actually, in groups they drive me crazy – if I were honest.
I can’t wrangle wiggly, giggly, squirmy kids too well. They stress me out! I love order and decorum too much, and it’s been way too long since my own kids were in the single digit age range.
Actually, it’s pretty bad when my favorite character is Miss Trunchbull from the movie “Matilda”! Yikes!
But yes, I do love kids! I wrote a post a while ago about my practice of giving away free stuffed animals to every kid in my church. If you haven’t read it, you should.
Jonny and I did another episode of the podcast recently with our own Director of Children’s Ministry – which you can find here.
But for today, I want to give you what I think are the top five things that children need from their pastor, and we can all provide these to the kids in our churches:
1. Kids need to have a great relationship with their pastor! There’s no reason why a kid should be ignored by his or her pastor. Pastors have huge influence, and with just a little time and elbow grease, a smile here and a back pat there, we can make good connections with all the kids in our small churches.
2. Kids need to experience being loved, valued, and recognized by their pastor! All this takes is intentionality, kindness, and time. When we talk with a child, look them in the eye, affirm them, ask them how they’re doing, etc. – all these things build up the kids in our lives.
3. Kids should experience a pastor who knows and values their family! When I was a kid, I had the very conscious sense that my pastor did not know or care about my family.
Wait a minute!
That was my first pastor – but my second pastor cared very much, not just for me, but for my parents and siblings as well. A kid thinks, “If my pastor doesn’t really care about my family, I know that he or she doesn’t care about me either!”
4. Kids need to know their pastor well enough to realize that he or she loves Jesus! This involves some transparency and openness on your part. You might think this strange with children – but no, it’s honest and helpful!
Tell children your Jesus story. Let them know that you struggle with prayer sometimes too. Share with them how Jesus has blessed your life and why you love him. You influence them. They will follow your lead.
5. Kids form their view of God through the lens of the church, therefore kids need to see the church loved well and led well by their pastor! If you show up, like my first pastor did, and head out the door two years later – well, then you have just sent a very negative message to every kid in your church.
Love your people, and lead them and feed them well. Then the kids in your church will really believe that the things you have said about God and the church are true!
Jesus once said something about children and millstones. Don’t be that person, Pastor! Be a pastor who loves the people of your church so much that the children realize that God is real, and his LOVE is real too!
I love kids. Because Jesus does. Even if they do drive me up the wall. Only sometimes. And just a little…
I may want to act like Danny DeVito in “Matilda” (I'm big, you're little!) But, I hope I act a little more like Miss Honey – who loves and cherishes her students.
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