We have all heard the statements “Step outside your comfort zone”, “Think outside the box”, “Lend your gifts and talents”. I know many of us have followed some of these at one time or another. When it comes to ministry to children, John Wesley had his own take on these. Wesley believed that ministry to children was very important. Although he believed we all have gifts and we are to “eagerly, desire, seek and pray for these gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31), we are also reminded that the greatest gifts are those that build others up. Wesley revealed “That’s not my gift” for what it often is…a nice Christian way of saying, “Go find someone else.” He said that if we are no good at ministering to children, we are to keep getting better by practice and we are to pray for greater gifts in this area.
Christopher Miles Ritter gave a great example in the book he wrote Seven Things John Wesley Expected Us to do for Kids. “I often think of my Grandma Virginia, who worked assembling aircraft in the early 1940’s. Her training and gifts were in home economics, not riveting. Why did she involve herself in such an ill-suited job? A war was on. The need was urgent. The workers were few. She jumped in, did what she could, and got better as she went along. I think this is the spirit in which Wesley called (Methodists) to instruct the young. The task is too large and urgent to restrict it to the equipped, the gifted, or even the willing.”
I feel the need is urgent, the workers are few and there is a type of war raging within this world that future generations are ill equipped to handle the way God intended them to. We, as a congregation, need to step outside our comfort zone to guide these children in the direction that is just, right and true. Our future, and the future of generations to come, depend on it.
James 3:17 says: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we all took this to heart and used it in our daily lives?
Please join me and “step outside” on August 14, after service in room 200, to see how you can help lead the children of this church on the path God has laid out for them.
(Originally published July 25, 2016)