Welcome to Ministry Monday. Today’s post is the second in series called Simple Service – easy ideas for taking care of your church family one act of kindness at a time. Take my Simple Service Challenge this month and post your pics to Facebook & Instagram with the #simpleservice!
“He’s the most challenging kid in the Sunday school class,” my Mom announced “…but he’s my favorite.”
I laughed as my mother told me what her prize pupil had done in her Sunday School class that day, because as the mother of five-year-old twins I affectionately call my ‘twinadoes,’ I am all too familiar with the bad reports that come from being the mother of the most challenging kids in the class.
Every Sunday school class, Awana program, or Vacation Bible School has one – a challenging child. A child who is louder than the others. Challenged by transitions more than the others. Driven by impulse more than the others.
I know. Two of those kids are mine.
So when my Mom shared her affections for the “challenging” kid in her class, my heart soared. Because behind many difficult children is a mother who fervently prays that others will love her kids the way she loves them.
…who will look beyond their weaknesses to affirm their strengths…
…who will diligently watch for small successes and celebrate with them publicly…
…who will actively discern an area of interest and encourage them to pursue it…
I know, that’s a lot to ask.
School rooms and church nurseries are busy places. Many Sundays I serve in the preschool class at our church plant. I consider a class session successful when I’ve managed to keep order, complete a lesson, and engage the children with God’s Word. To actively watch and discern the needs of each child in addition to our to-do list seems overwhelming.
But I know from personal experience that when a teacher or volunteer takes the time to share a kind word about my sons, they’ve done more than encourage me, they’ve handed me the world wrapped in a box.
One kind word can mean the world. It is the simplest form of service – and it doesn’t cost a thing.
Are you taking the #simpleservice challenge this month? The next time you volunteer in your church nursery or student’s program, keep a watchful eye out for genuine things to praise in the children you are serving:
- How did they respond to others?
Look for communication skills including tone of voice and kind words. Were they friendly? Were they encouraging to others?
- How well did they answer questions about the lesson?
Did they listen to the Bible story? Did they participate in the discussion by volunteering to speak, share stories, or ask additional questions?
- How well did they engage in classroom activities?
What interested them? What skill did they exhibit? How enthusiastic were they about the activities or lesson?
Above all, try to be specific. I love it when I’m told specific things my children did that were genuinely praiseworthy. Did they share a toy? Did they welcome another student to the table? Did they assist a younger child in a craft? I also love it when I’m told specific things my child said, even if it was silly.
For a mother of a challenging child, there is no sweet word too small to savor.
Sharing a kind word to the mother of a challenging child is more than giving her a pat on the back. Kind words encourage a mother to persevere with godly training and discipline during the week. Kind words encourage a mother to return with her child to church next week if she’s a visitor. Kind words encourage a mother that God is at work in the life of her child even when she can’t see the daily movements of his Hand.
Words encourage. It’s one of the simplest ways to serve your church family.
Are you the mother of a ‘challenging’ child? How has someone in your church or community of faith served you? Please leave your thoughts and stores in the comments below!