Romans 2:11 says, “For God does not show favoritism.” (NIV) Despite of His holy example, it is so easy to migrate to some children but ask yourself this question, “Am I playing favorites?” Let’s face it, some kids have sparkle. They show up; they participate with all their hearts. Perhaps they have parents that go the extra mile to support your ministry. Later, when it is time to give kids some praise or ask for some help, these sweethearts pop into our minds first. Did you know that favoritism can kill your ministry? Here’s what happens.
Seeds of jealousy spring up. Favoritism, no matter how unintended, sows seeds of discord. Exclusive activities do nothing to build unity, in fact they have the opposite effect. Pretty soon, kids feel rejected even jealous. Parents get involved and then — well, you can guess the rest. Another thing to remember, jealousy doesn’t extend to kids only. Volunteers get jealous too. You have to seek ways to distribute your attention amongst all the people you minister to.
Kids don’t learn inclusiveness. When we play favorites, kids follow our lead. We can preach love, equity and peace until we are blue in the face but if our actions don’t back up our words, we’ve not taught kids anything. Practice what you preach and include everyone in your activities.
People feel left out. It hurts when someone you respect doesn’t notice you. Kids can especially be sensitive to feelings of rejection and unworthiness. When you are leading games or a lesson, look around your room for the children who hang back. Sometimes kids just want to hear you call them and include them. Don’t let kids feel left out.
Emotional and spiritual needs aren’t met. By playing favorites, we neglect the emotional and spiritual needs of kids. Sadly, children will find a way to have their needs met — that can be a huge negative!
Deal with favoritism by praying daily for your entire class. One good practical suggestion is to make a list of your kids and call them out in prayer every day. Distribute your praise to all your sheep and build a stronger ministry.
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