Along with my current job assignment (children’s pastor @ Hayward Wesleyan), I will be joining the Spiritual Formation Department of The Wesleyan Church on their Children’s Ministry Leadership Team. Rev. Colleen Derr (former Children’s Ministry Director @ SFD) just recently accepted a teaching position @ Wesley Seminary and resigned leaving a vacancy that was filled with a field staff rather than a full time person (for the next year).
You can view the bios here, but I’ve stepped in as the Connections Coordinator and Team Leader, along with two other really neat people who serve as Resource and Training Coordinators. I’ll know more this weekend as I head to Indianapolis, IN to meet with the other staff more specifically what this new venture entails. I’m really intrigued and delighted to serve, resource and advance children’s ministry as an important means of discipleship in our churches and in the kingdom of God.
This looks to be a fun ride!
I am really passionate about “discipline” in ministry. To me (and I think to God), discipline (especially to children and youth) is essential to their spiritual formation. When a student is in trouble, I think their heart is ripe and fertile soil for a “teachable moment.” In other words, discipline equals discipleship.
In a ministry setting, do all the children and youth ministry volunteers have this same perspective? This blog post does a great job consolidating my thoughts:
One of the first things we share with a new volunteerin our Children’s Ministry is our philosophy on discipline in the classroom. It’s really very simple: “We believe that every child has the right to hear the Gospel uninterrupted.” What do we mean by that? Well, first of all we believe that what we are sharing and teaching is incredibly important. Second, we want every child to hear the message. That means we cannot allow one child to prevent others from receiving the message.
Each Sunday morning when I stand before our kids in our large group meeting time I share the same statement: “We have only three rules in Kid’s View and we want you to know all three rules:
Rule Number 1 – Remember why we are here. We are here to meet with others and meet with God.
Rule Number 2 – When someone on stage is speaking you are to be listening. Which means you would not be talking.
Rule Number 3 – Have Fun! If we remember Rule #1 and we practice Rule #2 we will have a great time together.”
Again, I make these same statements every Sunday as a reminder to our kids. They know them so well that they shout the last word of each statement as I say it. Our desire is for every child to hear the message and enjoy their time in Kid’s View. The three simple rules go a long way to help that goal be accomplished.
We also have the Three R’s as our steps for correction when a child does choose to misbehave:
R – Request the behavior stop.
R – Reseat the child in a different area if the behavior continues.
R – Remove the child from the classroom after the first two steps if necessary.
If a child has to be removed the parent is called to the classroom. Rarely does the third R become necessary. Our goal is for every child to hear the Gospel uninterrupted and for them to enjoy their time in Kid’s View!
via CM Buzz
As a parent myself, I wondered how I would have responded to seeing this on my garage floor initially. Would I praise and celebrate? (probably not) Would I scold and yell? (yep, more likely!)
This picture, however, makes me stop and think about what we as parents get mad and frustrated at, instead of looking beyond “the messes” and into the creativity and celebrating our children. I know it is much easier for me to “get on” to my daughters when they spill water on the floor while attempting to fill their water cup at the dispenser on the refrigerator… instead of praising their independence and ability to try and fail, try and succeed at performing basic human tasks, like getting water for oneself.
Maybe it’s perspective. One way parents look at these situations is that they are inconvenient, messy, and a teachable moment of what not to do. We get mad, scold, and tell them not to do that again. Another way to look at these situations are training for life. What if our children are not learning to not spill water, but rather “when I mess up, it is normal to get yelled at”? Don’t we want our children to learn that it is okay to mess up? And isn’t it our job as parents to help our children learn life’s basic (and later, complicated) tasks in an environment that is okay with them making mistakes to learn these things?
Thinking about these things helps me to parent with much more grace. It also reminds me of my ultimate job as a parent: to train these “little, dependent people” to be “big, independent people” someday.
A further side benefit? As a parent, I’m not as stressed then about some water on the floor (or spray paint on the garage floor).