Love is the antidote for anger. In ministry it’s really easy to be consumed, as a children’s ministry leader or even a small group leader, by what you have to do, and forget that children need love. Instead we find ourselves consumed by tasks.
tasks task tasks
As a ministry leader you are constantly thinking about what you have to do for the weekend. You’re trying to remember all of the details of your next event. You’re trying to keep track of which volunteers are calling out and uh-oh, did you actually remember to print those first time guest cards and twenty other things.
It becomes really easy to forget about the kids that need love. You can become distracted from the kids who don’t have anyone pouring into them spiritually. It’s easy to overlook the fact that God calls those children his masterpieces.
Those little people are empty canvases waiting to be inscribed on, waiting for someone to teach them that every amazing thing in life is spiritual, and God has good works planned for them to do.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10
Even as a small group leader or a volunteer, you can get so caught up in teaching the Bible story and making sure kids memorized the memory verse, that we forget about love.
It’s easy to feel like the craft has to be finished or the game needs to played. And those things are good, and I think those opportunities can allow God to move in kids lives, but your love, your care, and you demonstrating God’s love to a child, is what changes lives.
love is the antidote for anger
I started out by saying love is the antidote for anger because I have a four year old. My little boy is a super passionate, intense, loving, precocious, and angry little man. I know that doesn’t describe every four year old, but it describes my guy. He is sensitive and gets frustrated easily, and when he gets frustrated, it usually turns to anger.
Sometimes I respond in kind with anger, and I hate that. As a parent, knowing how to address an offense can be difficult. Sometimes the moment requires discipline for an offense, but sometimes I’m filled with overwhelming love and compassion. In those moments I can see clearly that his anger is triggered by pain, or the frustration is present due to a lack of being understood, and I just hug him, comfort him or affirm him.
when love wins
I love those moments. I love when love wins. When it solves the problem. I love to see him soften and realize he has a place to be himself. Tiny people have tiny problems, and in those situations often love can dismantle the anger bomb.
I was thinking how many kids in our ministries are walking around without someone choosing for love to win. So, instead of feeling affirmed and safe, they continue to feel frustrated and misunderstood. Research shows that when it comes to love, the younger the recipient, the stronger the impact.
Many years ago, I read an article about how HIV positive babies in Africa were being rescued by a non-profit group. This group would love and nurse them back to health. These HIV positive babies would get better. There was no magic vaccination or pill, just the basic needs of humanity being met: nutrition, care and most of all love; just a little TLC.
We have this same opportunity week in and week out, as leaders of the next generation, to give some TLC to our own little people. The way through which the lives of kids in our ministries will be most impacted is through love.
So, how can you show love, the one thing every child needs the most, to the kids in your ministry?
4 ways to show love to the kids in your ministry
1) be there and be fully present
I am the worst at this. A million church people and staff members texting me, and I’m not 100% engaged. Little people are aware of this. Give them the full hour; they deserve it.
2) know their names
God has blessed me with the ability to remember names very easily. People ask me all the time how do you remember all the names, and I always say magic. I feel like it’s a “Disney” type moment.
That might not be you, but if you’re a group leader make it a priority to know the 8 or 9 kid’s names, they are your crew. If you’re a ministry leader do your best. There are excellent tricks and mnemonic devices that can be used to help you remember.
3) listen to what they are saying
There is so much value in listening to someone. Let them say their full thought and then comment back. All you have to do is create the space to listen.
4) have fun!
This might seem silly when we are talking about ways to love a kid, but fun is like a universal love language. I will do a little jig, or give uber high-fives or blink 50 times really silly, and kids love that. If you seem like someone that might understand them, they will want to be around you. This increases your ability to have influence and to make a difference in their life.
So remember, if you’re feeling too busy to love, take a step back to reassess where your priorities are. God is love, He created love, He shows us love in the most ultimate ways. His Spirit is living inside of you, and you have the ultimate access to help love win.
Chief Creative Officer
Stacia has over a decade of ministry experience, with the majority of that time leading next generation change. She has experience leading almost one hundred volunteers, and developing curriculum for kids and students. Stacia has a B.S. in Church Ministries and Biblical Studies, as well as experience educating in an elementary public school environment. She is also immensely creative and accomplished in teaching children about the wonder of God.