Ha! If you’ve ministered to kids for any time, you probably got a kick out of this title!
Last week I was listening to an audio blog post on Steven Furtick’s blog. The blog was about how to give effective invitations. It was a great message, regardless of your position. He shared his advice and experience in the wake of Easter where his church saw over 500 people come to Christ. Absolutely amazing! There were so many great points worth hearing.
One thing did stick out to me in particular. Pastor Steven talked about how it had been his tendency to make it difficult for a person to come to Christ in order to ensure that they authentically made the decision. Then one day he read the parable of the wheat and the tares (or weeds) in Matthew 13 and was convicted. He came to realize that it wasn’t his responsibility to determine the authenticity of their faith and remove the weeds, it was his responsibility to sow the seed. In the end, the wheat would be separated from the weed. He went on to say that he (Steven) will refuse to cast wheat tot he side because he thought it was a weed. “I’m not God… it’s not my job.”
I thought about this in the context of the children’s ministry. We’ve all had that one kid that got saved every single time there was an opportunity. There were some kids that I met with personally and baptized that would occasionally raise their hands. Sometimes I’d pull them aside and question them, explaining that you only had to do this once. Ha, I even had one 7 year old girl (it would be an understatement for me to call her a firecracker) who had gotten saved 400 times in one year. I had been working with her parents already on some behavior issues, manipulation and lying. Once I explained to her that she didn’t need to keep doing this. She looked at me with her “sad” eyes and said, “I didn’t mean it those other times.”
A few Easters ago we had a great response to an invitation in our kid’s church. The next week I shared this news in staff meeting. One person on staff responded, “Yeah, but how many of them really meant it. Some of those were probably repeats from Venture Quest (VBS).” Yeah, that didn’t go over so well for me. I didn’t make a big deal out of it, but that did bother me.
Yes, it does bother me that the same kid gets saved every week. Not that I care that they’re doing it again, but because I really want them to get it. I asked Jesus to be my Lord when I was 4. I think I did it 10 times that week. Why? I just wanted to be sure. I understand for some kids (if not most) it is a process. It’s not “too big” of a decision for them to understand; however, as they mature, they’ll also grow in their understanding.
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Ah Madeline! She’s still getting saved – week after week after week! Maybe one of these days. . .