Your church, like mine, is likely blessed with dedicated volunteers who gladly give their time and energy to children’s ministry. But have you ever known volunteers who serve so willingly they never seem to make it to “big church” on Sundays and Wednesdays? I’ve seen that happen at times in my church–a worker gradually falls into a pattern of rarely gathering with the church to hear God’s word preached, to pray and sing together, or to partake of the Lord’s Supper. This is either due to the demands of the ministry or their own comfort level in being with the children. Either way it’s not an ideal situation.
In some cases, a good plan for rotation or recruiting new workers can help. In other cases, the workers themselves may need to be encouraged to gather with the church when they have the opportunity. Some adult volunteers can actually lose their “taste” for congregational worship, preferring instead the familiarity of the childrens or youth department. It’s an easy thing to happen, but it’s something better avoided for several reasons:
1. It can cause us to miss what we need. Congregational worship offers unique means of edification for us. Hearing the Scriptures taught and preached, singing and praying together, the witnessing of water baptisms and the taking of the Lords Supper are all important ways that God has prescribed to build us up in our faith. If we never join with the church in doing these things we’re missing something vital God has for us.
2. It can set a wrong example. Children, as we all know, see and notice everything; we should be careful to model faithfulness and submission to God’s word for them. Our eagerness to join with other believers in a corporate setting should be displayed for them to see.
3. It can prevent others from serving. If the same folks are teaching a Sunday School class on Sunday morning, working with children’s church during the main service, helping in the nursery on Sunday night and hanging out with the youth on Wednesdays, other people in the church may not see the need to volunteer in these areas, even though they are gifted to serve.
Obviously, it is often hard to find enough people to volunteer in children’s ministry, which makes the task of dedicated workers participating in corporate worship even trickier. But with prayer, sincere effort and good communication, a way can be found! After all, it is God Himself who commanded us not to neglect assembling together as the church (Hebrews 10:24,25); where He has commanded He will also provide!
Has your church experienced and dealt with this problem? What are some ways you’ve addressed it?