Week after week, you plan a brilliant hour (or two) of kids’ ministry then hope and pray that they get it. You go home covered in glitter and abandoned artwork and pass out while you pray for your kids. It is so easy for the kid’s pastor to get stuck in a rut. All you need Lord, (you pray) is just one breakthrough, one sign to show that your kids truly understand that God loves them. Sometimes God rewards these prayers by providing teachable moments; these are unexpected, unplanned opportunities for the teacher to follow the Leader. You can’t force these special moments but you can prepare yourself to recognize them.
Teachable moments… do you recognize them?
Talking about tragedy: Sometimes we tend to shelter our kids from the tragedies that occur in our world, especially if they involve children. Kids’ ministry needs to be a safe place but we shouldn’t shirk our duties as a spiritual leader. During the recent tragedy at Newtown, little hands went up all around the room because kids wanted to pray for those families. That day, I put away my lesson on Daniel in the Lion’s Den and pulled up a chair at the kids’ table. I let them express their fear about school, about dying and then we talked about having hope in God. I didn’t try to explain why things happened, but I told kids that if they trusted in God, they do not have to be afraid. Honestly, at times, I felt like I was walking a tightrope during that conversation but I had so many parents approach me with a “thank you” afterwards, it was worth it. Don’t be afraid to speak to kids after tragedies if they have questions.
Recognizing the Spirit: How many times have I been immersed in a teaching agenda, answered a raised hand and went in an entirely different direction. While sometimes kids (and I) like chasing those mental rabbits on other occasions, you just know it’s the Spirit of God initiating a dialogue. The room gets quiet, you can almost feel little ears perk up. Unexpectedly teaching occurs and for the next 15 minutes kids cry, feeling the influence of the Spirit of God. What an amazing teachable moment that was! What would have happened if I had said, “Not now Derek.” Hmm.. I have said that before but now I make it a practice to discern those teachable moments.
Find the answer together: At times, a teachable moment is less spiritual and more practical. When you get pelted with a barrage of questions say, “Let’s find the answer together! Who’s got their Bible handy? I think there is a scripture that says…”
I pray that your next class is filled with teachable moments!
Read more from Mimi on her blog, Encouragement for Christians.