Sometimes in the moment of any particular weekend, doubts of my effectiveness and usefulness creep in. Sometimes as I’m finding difficulty making a connection as I’m teaching or the kids seem to be very distracted, I really wonder what I could have done to have avoided this situation. Fortunately, I carry with me a certain knowledge that has given me confidence in these moments of self-doubt. This knowledge is something my children’s pastor passed on to me as I was beginning my role as a children’s pastor. Mr. Randy, who in my mind wrote the book on children’s ministry, shared how on many occasions he would sit in his car long after church let out and just weep. He’d weep over why the kids didn’t connect, why they were so distracted or why they totally missed the point. Hearing this from the man who shaped much of who I am as a believer and a pastor has helped me deal with the weekends I’d like to do-over. Now, when faced with tough weekends, I still mourn the lost connections and missed points. But instead of over-internalizing, I make note of what I can try to do better and then move on facing the new week ahead. Ultimately, I was obedient in my calling to teach and I did what was expected of me to share. I have to trust God that he will bring the seeds I planted to fruition. It’s his word and they’re his kids and I’ve done my part.

When fruit does come my way, I make sure to pick it and keep it as a constant reminder. When I get an encouraging email or a note, I keep it and file it away for a rainy day. Just this week my administrative assistant from a previous church and her daughters visited me. Within a few minutes, the girls began catching me up on how all the other kids their age I pastored were doing. Most of those kids all had requests for a letter or note from me and all had asked that I would come back. It’s been almost three years and most of these kids are now well into their years in Junior High. With comments like this, the weekends where I feel like I missed the mark just melts away.

In addition to this, I got an email today from a mom of one of the kids in my small groups class. Here is the letter:

“Thanks for all you do for the kids – I just wanted to share a couple of stories with you.Billy has really enjoyed the kid’s small group.

Wednesday night after small groups he told me all about fasting – and then he informed me he had decided to fast – from showering! Needless to say this wasn’t going to work for our family.

So, Thursday morning he said he had thought more about it and he wanted to fast from playing video games. Thursday afternoon he went to play with his friend – then came in crying. All his friends wanted to do was play video games, so he chose not to play with them. It was a great teachable moment, and we talked about how it is sometimes hard to do things for God when our friends aren’t. I was very proud of him and his personal conviction – although it was hard.

I just thought you’d appreciate knowing that the kids are taking seriously everything you say – and the Lord is using you in their lives. Thanks.

I couldn’t put a price tag on a gift like this. Maybe every weekend wasn’t a home run. Sometimes it was my fault due to lack of preparation or personal distractions. Other times I just did my best. But as I look back over these ten years, I’ve seen enough fruit to know that sometimes they do listen and sometimes they do remember and when they do, it makes a difference!