I love children so much. I look forward to scooping each one of them up and holding them in my arms as long as they’ll let me. Like you, God has blessed me with the capability of loving and accepting children, seeing them for who they are in God.
What about children who shrink back from this attention. Some children close themselves off and become difficult to reach. No hugs can be administered because I am kept at a safe, untrusting distance. But like the Good Shepherd, I’m determined to gather them in. It’s this one lost sheep that I feel compelled to bring into the fold.
Reaching the hard to reach child requires patience and a holy determination. You have to be willing to go the distance. You must! Take heart Christian minister—it can be done!
So how do you begin? How can you do it? These steps will help you minister to these children. Keep in mind, these steps aren’t written in stone and there’s no timeline associated that I can give. Each child is different. You may have to repeat several steps for a long period of time.
1. Minister to yourself. Remind yourself that you aren’t personally being rejected. This isn’t about you—it’s war for a precious soul. Aloofness is evidence of a struggle.
2. Focus on Jesus. Teach about Him, talk about Him. His words in red, as my children call them, can work miracles on the hearers.
3. Pray in private for the child. Bring him before the Lord every day. Ask for wisdom and insight on reaching the child.
4. Assign someone. Children that have been abused by adults or are extremely timid may not warm up to a grown up. Assign a younger minister to befriend the child. A teen helper or young adult would make the perfect match for a hard to reach child.
5. Counter anger with love. The hard to reach child will likely exhibit anger. Do the unexpected and counter every angry act with love. Love disarms, love heals.
6. Respect the child’s boundaries. Don’t touch, if he doesn’t want to be touched. If she shrinks away from your hugs, respect the distance. Not everyone has to hug us. (Sad but true.)
7. Wait for opportunities. When Christ is involved, miracles will happen! Be prepared for opportunities. Don’t be surprised if the hard to reach child finally confides in you or asks you to pray. Be immediate in your response and don’t make them wait. You may not get another opportunity.
8. Go to them. Take your ministry outside the four walls. Pay a visit! Bring cookies or the child’s favorite snack and make an in-home visit. Always call ahead for approval.
9. Be sincere. Kids can spot a fake easily. Always be honest. Never fake answers and laugh at your own mistakes.
10. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. The quickest way to undo all your hard work is to break a promise. To the hard to reach child, broken promises are “proof” that you don’t really care. Be careful about promising things.
The hard to reach child needs you. Follow the child’s lead as you lead him to the cross.