Jesus was empathic about reassuring the importance of children coming to Him. His words were like a declaration of spiritual principles: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). For Him, being close to the children was of utmost importance. So much so that He expressed that theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This is why it becomes so important that in the church, a strong leadership is raised up to take the Word of God to the little ones, so it can grow in them and bear fruit as they grow up. We need leaders who will prepare themselves and approach children of all ages to get to know them and speak their language when it’s time to share the message.
These leaders need to have a few special characteristics:
- Have the heart of a pastor
On occasion, working with kids requires patience, hard work and going the extra mile to meet their needs and draw them near to the feet of the Lord. A children’s leader needs to know that being in contact with their sheep needs to be part of their life. Sometimes, you will need to pay close attention to them and help them, because at their young age there are still a lot of things they cannot do on their own. In addition, these pastors will need to be very patient as kids, while they are being formed, can often make mistakes and need someone to teach them with love and perseverance.
- Have the heart of a child
Creativity, boldness and sensitivity all abound during childhood. All of these characteristics are key in order for children’s leadership to be developed adequately. The leader needs to have the ability to listen and read in between the lines of what the kids say without using words. They need to share their messages in a practical and creative way, balancing the depth of the Word with how fun it is to be in the presence of God. In the same way, they need to be brave to rid themselves of all limitations an adult may have. It’s important for them to be able to connect with them through games, costumes and laughter. Nothing captivates a child more than someone who is willing to fall on the floor and join in their games.
- Be an example worthy of imitating
The most important thing for a leader in the children’s ministry is their testimony. Paul taught about the importance of imitating him as he imitated Christ. This teaching is especially relevant with kids. They seek an example to follow and the leader will need to be a role model in their relationship with God and men. This is how they will inspire the little ones to live a life of surrender to the Lord.
This is why children’s leadership is not designed for everyone. Only for those who have been given the incredible gifts to do it. But those who receive this call will be able to experience the excitement of knowing you are sowing small seeds in the generations, that tomorrow will take the Word of God to every corner of the world.