Interruptions. Most of us find them to be unpleasant and frustrating. Things seem to be going well, and then suddenly, the unexpected comes along and everything grinds to a halt. Interruptions have the potential to get us sidetracked, sometimes permanently, or cause us to lose the momentum that kept things moving forward. It’s as if Satan deliberately throws in a monkey wrench to thwart our best efforts and intentions.
Several years ago, Othoniel Gutierrez – our mission partner in Cuauhtemoc, Mexico – began sharing his faith with inmates in the local prison. Eventually, the prison officials allowed a baptistery to be built inside the prison to accommodate those who wished to obey the gospel. Last year alone, 33 inmates were baptized into Christ. This ministry was growing by leaps and bounds.
Then came the interruption. The prison officials decided to remodel the prison, and no one from the outside was allowed to visit until the construction was completed. As the weeks turned into months, Othoniel began to wonder what he would find when he was finally allowed to return. His words describing his first visit back are as follows:
After approximately three months of not being permitted to visit the prison due to construction, today (July 7) we were able to enter and visit again. To God’s glory, the brothers in prison were waiting with great anticipation for our visit, just as if it were their wives or children who were coming to visit them. To my great surprise, the brothers had baptized five of their fellow prisoners into the body of Christ. During the remodeling of the prison, the baptistery had been destroyed. However, this did not keep the brothers from baptizing more prisoners. They were able to use a large trash receptacle to baptize them. Hallelujah!!!
This story is a reminder that God remains in control, even in the midst of frustrating circumstances. He can bring good out of any situation, including the interruptions of life. So when the unexpected comes your way, remember that “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37), and trust Him to use it to His glory.
That’s it…you’ve only got 40 hours to influence the lives of the preschooler in your life. The average preschooler is at church for 40 hours this next school year. So, where did the rest of the hours go? Preschoolers spend them at home, with their parents. That’s right, about 3,000 of them are spent with their parents while they are awake. So the biggest question becomes, since parents have so many more hours to spend with their children, how does the church become a partner in the spiritually formative process?
The answer is, we help them. This next year, our Children’s Ministry team will engage our parents in a big way. Teaching our children about God doesn’t have to be a big, scary issue. Teaching a child about God can happen anytime, anywhere. When we are walking to the mailbox and discover a worm on the ground and stop to investigate, how about using that time to say “God made that worm. God made everything.” While we are cleaning the dirt between our child’s toes, we can say something simple like, “I’m so glad God made you and your cute little toes.” God is all around us, and as parents we need to be reminded that we can talk about Him anytime. Our children love to hear very simple concepts like “God made them, God loves them, and that Jesus wants to be their friend.”
This next school year, we are dedicated to creating a rhythm of spiritual formation that not only is happening in those important 40 hours, but will become an extension of what is already being taught in the home with parents. As parents, we will be trained on how to integrate God into our daily lives and just how simple this process can be. Such times as bath time, car time, cuddle time and play times are all wonderful examples of how creative we can be in sharing God’s love in our daily routines. Parents will be equipped with prayers, scripts, games and bedtime stories which will make that connection each week between church and home. Once our children start to see these connections, God will soon become an integral part of their daily routines.
I hope you are just as excited as I am about what the future holds for the next generation of this church. If you would like to become more engaged as parents in this process or want to know how you can become more involved, please attend one of our upcoming training dates. I believe that you will gain more from this process than our children ever will.
May God bless you in your responsibility of raising His children!
This next year will be a big year for our Children’s Ministry team. A lot of new technology resources will be implemented in our classrooms, our Wednesday evening programming will get a huge facelift, and some reorganization will take place. With new initiatives comes the necessity of training.
If you are a teacher, volunteer or parent who wants to learn more about what this next year looks like for our kids, please mark your calendar and plan to join us on one of these two training dates: Friday, July 25 or Saturday, August 9, both at 9:00am – noon. Both sessions will contain the same training, so you only need to choose one date to attend.
We ask all teachers for both Sunday morning and Wednesday evening programs to attend. If you are unable to attend either of these trainings, please contact Gene Ann Frizzell, or your appropriate department leader to arrange make-up training.
We’ve got some big news, and we want to share it with you personally. Bring your laptop computers and other electronic devices because we will be learning some new technology. Hope to see you all there!