Monday, April 26, 2010

Ministry Monday!

This Ministry Monday is all about ministry with children. You know I have three children. My oldest Nicollus is 11, then Najee’ who is 9 and finally Nichelle at 8. They are truly a handful on every level. I think mostly because as I speak with them, it is like I am talking to myself or my husband. They are truly mini we’s!  Today I shared with a MOPS group, practical ways to incorporate your children in ministry. I will begin by saying children are often left out of most parent’s ministry efforts. Somehow I don’t see that as I view scripture. In Deuteronomy the scripture tell us to teach our children by the way, and as we go. That simply put, as you live out the gospel teach your children what you are doing, why you are doing and then give them responsibility so they will do the same.

How have our children learned to serve in this ministry alongside us? I will be the first to note the contribution my children make every single day is huge! There thoughts are often towards the needs of others in a big way. While we still need to work on not fighting for who gets to hold the cell phone or be the first player on the wii, they are miles ahead when it comes to the true need of people at their core.

We have spent and still do spend a lot of time in family devotions. Phil took the whole family through a Greek class, a study through the book of Acts, Saturday Morning discipleship classes, dinner devotions, breakfast devotions, around the fireplace devotions and discussions. We talk about the scriptures often. We look for ways to apply God’s word to our daily lives. Ministry is not something you do when you arrive at a certain place on Sunday or whatever day of the week. It is a lifestyle! It is the air you breath, because of the God we serve!

Ministry in Oakwood…

In the beginning it was Phillip, me, Nicollus, Najee’ and Nichelle. Every Sunday morning beginning in September 2007 our children would wake up and help load my van with speakers and about 20 folding chairs. Then they would unload all the chairs and help set up and organize the space. Nicollus would help Phil with the sound system. And after we worshipped we would do it all over again! What a task for such little people. Once we arrived in the park the kids would pair up with a parent and knock on doors. Nichelle has always been the boldest one! She would often knock on doors like she was the po po (that was hood for police). They all spoke boldly for Christ. It was awesome to see. They would lead songs and see about peoples needs it was great. They were concerned for the children living in the different conditions we allowed them to be exposed to. Nicollus had a boy in his class who lived in the park. The boy’s glasses were broken. It was all my son could do to make sure that kid had a new pair of glasses. My kids would save their clothes. They would pick out cool toys they had and or no longer used and gave them away... often! We spent a lot of time talking about the types of things you give to people. Our rule is if you would be offended that someone gave that you…don’t give it to someone else! We don’t give away trash to anyone! That really made sense to them and they will get on to people if they bring something to us for donation that is trashy.

Nicollus my oldest has lead groups of people through the park to witness. There was a team of college students who had a heart to serve. We take people in groups. We needed someone to lead a group and my son said, “I’ll take them!” So, Phil agreed to let him take the group around. At the end of the day the group came back and said, “Your son did all the work. He talked to people and guided us through conversations.” I was experienced this with my son also. We were talking to some new residents. The conversation ended with Nicollus taking over and telling the older gentleman about the hope of Christ. Again I was blown away! Yet, very thankful.

We had a Sunday early on, and the weather was off and on with rain and thunderstorm. It would rain and thunder then the sun would break forth. So we had a family meeting to vote on whether or not we would meet in the park. Oh, let me add a few details. We meet outside in a trailer park. Okay so now we are voting, I’ll be honest and say I was feelin’ the whole stay at home thing. But, Nichelle said “We need to go because people need to hear the Gospel!” Really?! Who could argue with that? So we went and the day was beautiful for the entire time we were there. Then as soon as we packed up and were all in the car it burst into rain and thunderstorms. God is amazing!

Najee’ was reluctant. She was always asking when are we going back to normal church (she would make the hand motion of a roof while she spoke) with a roof! I think her biggest concern was all the work she had to put in before and after we gathered to worship. Now she is all over it! Her gifts are acts of service. She wants to bake and babysit for people all the time. She is thoughtful in deed. I’d say she has the wannabe momma ministry! 

I have watched my children grow in ways unimaginable for people their age. They have an awareness of things that I have wondered, is that okay? But in the end that awareness is used for the Glory of Christ and the Joy of People. They are disciples.

Today they love to attend tutoring. Nicollus will be representing CoHO at the Universities in the fall. He is seeking to become a tutor as well. He helps to lead with King’s Club and loves to really get to work on the Nehemiah Projects. Najee’ wants to feed the world. She will see someone and wants to feed them or buy them lunch or bake something. She is usually in charge of helping in food serving. She will make sure everyone is feed. While Nichelle fully enjoys participating with the children. She has the heart that will make kids feel loved and welcomed. She attends tutoring just be around the kids. My kids are open and very real with us as parents. They are quick to let us know if they are feeling neglected due to serving others. They are also quick to say, “It is important that you do this or that.” I really love my children. Phil and I tell them all the time how thankful to God we are for them. They are a blessing in our lives and they bring the balance we need in ministry.

Okay and the very last thing that we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to do is Ding, Dong Bless! We may purchase groceries, clothes, a cooked dinner, toys or something we know the other person has been longing for and we place it at their door, ring the door bell and run away as fast as they can while I’m in the car ready to drive away. It is the most fun ever! You should try it with your kids sometime. But be sure to plan your escape route first! ;)

I could tell fun stories all day. The bottom line is that your kids need to be as important in your ministry as the people you serve and those adults who serve alongside you. Their thoughts need to be considered and you have to give them some responsibility. Finally live a life of real Christ Centered Gospel before them!

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