Last night I finally finished reading The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. This book is for young readers, and it was A New York Times Bestseller back in 2008. Of course as soon as I finished the last page, I googled the book and the writer! I actually came across an interview with the author on KidsReads.com where he said that the idea for The Mysterious Benedict Society came from his belief that “children are often seen, rarely heard, and always underestimated.” No wonder I like this book so much… because I often feel the same way. We live in a culture and society where we value children so much… but ironically I agree with Stewart that children are rarely heard and always underestimated! This book definitely empowers kids… and to make it even better, the four kids that save the world are kids that feel more insignificant, unloved, and unworthy than any other kids! This is not a book review. In fact, if you’d like one, I found an excellent one on Bugs & Bunnies Blog.
I have conversed with many church and kidmin leaders in the past few months. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means for a church to value children and children’s ministry. Trust me, every church I’ve talked to says they value and support children’s ministry. I guess saying they value children’s ministry is right up there with “we value worshiping God.” Well, my big question for the past month has been “what does it mean for a church to value children’s ministry and what does that look like?” I have heard many great answers: good portion of budget going to kidmin, allowing kids to help shape culture of the church, sharing resources, providing volunteers, etc… But my MILLION DOLLAR question is what does that really look like? Sure, I’ve had a lead pastor stop ALL events at church during the week of VBS so I could have all the volunteers I needed. Sure, I’ve been given great budget for kidmin in the past… and those all contribute to how a church values kidmin. But am I crazy to think that there has got to be more???
In a recent conversation with the founder of Sports Serve, he reminded me that we need to teach and disciple our children and youth right now to be the leaders and the church of TODAY, not of the future. I couldn’t agree more!!! I think a lot of churches fool ourselves into thinking that we’ve done our job of valuing kidmin by providing them with money, volunteers, and supplies… but how much are the churches investing in developing these kids to be lovers of God, followers of Christ, and leaders of the Church? In how many churches is the kidmin just an extra appendage that follows them everywhere they go, and thus need to provide something to keep them occupied?
I know I’m a dreamer… but is it a crazy dream to think that our kids can be like The Mysterious Benedict Society where they are the ones who can lead and change with their great ideas? NOT just seen, rarely heard, and always underestimated, but where their ideas are heard and acted upon???
“Having devoted more than two decades of my life and all of my professional skills to studying and working with ministries of all types, I am now convinced that the greatest hope for the local church lies in raising godly children.” – George Barna, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions.
I would SOOOOO love to hear any ideas/thoughts you all have on this… please leave me a comment or email me directly!!! This has been keeping me up at nights!!!