I started my current ministry back in February. I was hired to start Children & Family Ministry from scratch at our new multi-site campus. This multi-site is different in that we will not be duplicating current ministries… but our new site is going to look different to meet the needs and reach people who we’re not currently reaching. It almost feels like a church plant in a way. So the past few months have been filled with meetings to plan and prepare for this launch that will happen in the fall. I have also been trying to meet and get to know as many people as possible. One of the overwhelming part of this whole experience has been that my reputation has preceded me… and they already have a specific perception of who I am and what I am going to do. Few conversations have gone like this:
People: Oh, so you’re THE Pastor Gloria… so we have heard so much about you. We heard that you’re going to change everything, and it’s gonna be awesome.
Me: Oh.. nice to meet you. I don’t know what you’ve heard… I’m not here to change everything… but just to do my best to have the best children’s ministry we can.
People: We heard that you’re gonna reform children’s ministry… and you’re gonna do all these new programs and stuff… Is that a rumor?
Me: Hmmm… I wish I was a miracle worker… but what I’m committed to doing is to help kids connect with Jesus, and love Him more and more!
So you can see the progression of countless conversations like this… I’m flattered that people think I’m that good (which makes me cringe on the inside…) and scared that people have such high expectations of this ministry I will be launching! Man, it’s A LOT of pressure!!! I wish there was a fail-proof formula to doing Children & Family Ministry… but we all know that there is no such thing! In fact, there are so many variables… what may work gloriously in one church may not work for us. We need to take into account the context, dynamics, and culture of the church… yes, I believe we can have a bit of control over these… but not 100% control. I will be honest–I’m scared of this not working out so peachy (at least in the areas I’m overseeing). This is where I need to be good steward of what is entrusted to me, and do my best to create the best environment for the kids, parents, and volunteers… but ultimately it’s up to God to make this ministry happen!
Recently in my conversation with friends, they reminded me that Jesus often used parables and illustrations that deal with gardening, farming, plants, and agriculture rather than carpentry, which was His job. If you’re familiar with gardening, you don’t have full control over how your plants grow. All you can do is to give it what it needs: appropriate amount of sunlight, water, quality of soil, necessary pruning, etc… All you can do is give it the best environment you can, but you can’t make your plan grow to your liking! Wow–how profound (it was to me at the time)! In the photo above, I planted 2 calla lily bulbs… I got them at the same time from the same nursery… they’re even in the same pot. The bulb on the left bore a lot of leaves. In fact, it started growing so fast that I thought it was going to flower first. However, the bulb on the right grew slowly and steadily and birthed a beautiful burnt orange calla lily! I’m still waiting for the other one to flower! They both had the same amount of sunlight, water, same soil, and same TLC… but to my dismay, only one of them is growing tall and beautiful…
In the same way, I think ministry is the same way… No matter how much we think we have control over people, we DON’T! No matter how much I dream of kids becoming perfect children that love and obey Jesus all the time, it’s out of my control… I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 3:6
“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”
God is the One who will make the kids grow… not I! My job is to do my VERY BEST to create the best environment for that growth to happen… so there is NO fail-proof Kids Ministry… but I’m trusting in God! And I look forward to what God will do in and through our new ministry as it launches with excitement!!! In the meantime, you can see another success/failure of another plant I planted–one bulb on the left just died while the one on the right is slowly steadily growing!