By Gala Castanos (Outreach Worker at Kingston-Galloway)
“Thank you for the snack! I love you! You’re the best!” exclaimed an excited little girl as I pulled out a bag of cookies during snack time. As she was getting ready for her sugar rush, I was already high on an internal rush of self elevation and affirmation about her comment. Still glowing on the inside, I gathered the kids to pray for the food; thanking God for the snack that He provided.
Wait. Thanking GOD for the snack HE provided. I rewind my brain a bit and replay in my mind, and heart of what just happened. I took the credit for something God had done. I had inadvertently taught this child, through my actions that ‘I’, Gala can provide her every joy and need. I was living on a man-centered praise and finding joy in that. I had robbed God of His glory, by allowing this child to glorify myself, rather than God.
The irony about working in ministry is that it is a terrifyingly tempting place. It is a place where we set out to serve God, but end up serving ourselves. It is the struggle of trying to make God’s name great, with the desire to make our name great in the process. It is a battle ground between your glory, and God’s glory. It is a battle of the heart; a matter of Trust.
Looking at Asaph’s Psalm for the future generation of Israel in Psalm 78,I’ve realized, by God’s grace that there is a much greater framework for the vision of this children’s ministry in Kingston-Galloway. It is one that seeks to reveal the glory of God throughout every generation that passes. It focuses on the deeds of God, of telling and sharing and His goodness to these children – and in doing so revealing the glory of Himself to enlighten their hearts. It is not about our program activities, what snacks we have, what games we play, how much the kids love you (although relationships are important!) and it is not about me; what I can and cannot do out of my own human strength. It is about making God the greatest Hero of these children’s lives, and making Him great so that they would know Him and Trust Him.
Instead of opening my mouth to receive acclamation and praise,
“2 I will open my mouth and tell stories.
I will speak about things that were hidden.
They happened a long time ago.
3 We have heard about them and we know them.
Our people who lived before us have told us about them.
4 We won’t hide them from our children.
We will tell them to those who live after us.
We will tell them about what the Lord has done that is worthy of praise.
We will talk about his power and the wonderful things he has done.
5 He gave laws to the people of Jacob.
He gave Israel their law.
He commanded our people who lived before us
to teach his laws to their children.
6 Then those born later would know his laws.
Even their children yet to come would know them.
And they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God.
They would not forget what he had done.
They would obey his commands.
“God loves you.” “Jesus loves you” “Jesus died for you”. We’ve heard it all. I’ve heard it countlessly echoed throughout my childhood church and have echoed the same truths when I first started working in children’s ministry as a young teenager. It has been the echoing anthem of many dedicated children’s church and ministry workers in churches to children everywhere.
- Emphasis on Jesus loves me…vs. trust in God/Jesus
- Jesus loves me ( me centered) vs. trusting in God (God centered)
- Provides a biblical, solid framework of WHO God is (Sovereign, Provider, Mighty…a child feels safe to place their whole trust in a God who works everything together for the good of those who love Him and are called faithfully according to His purposes in Christ Jesus)
- Fulfills the vision of what God had intended ( generations would come to trust God)
- Ministry- helping children trust God- glorifies God ..builds Kingdom , empowers them to know that God is wit them, he will never leave and continue to be faithful to them