Something we forget as adults is how much the little things matter to kids. Something as simple as remembering a child’s name can leave them smiling for the whole morning. A kid’s faith is so pure and strong. They just believe – and it is one of the most beautiful things you could ever be a part of. Why? Not only are you making a difference in their lives, but they also have just as much of an impact on yours. I know all this because I grew up going to Kingdom Quest most every Sunday, and still to this day I remember the people who poured into me and the lessons that deepened my faith.
My 1st through 4th-grade shepherd (my small group leader) was a big part of my spiritual formation, giving us their time and attention each week and bringing so much joy to our lives. The moment I was old enough I knew that I wanted to teach a group of my own and help them grow in their faith. Helping kids grow their faith sounds scary, but it’s honestly one of the easiest things in the world. It’s just showing them the love of Jesus. While I thought I was helping them, I realized they were helping me, and I ended up doing most of the growing. I truly cannot put a price on the experience of being a shepherd — I learned something new every Sunday. Usually what I learned was a new biblical fact from the lesson, luckily it is so well written I don’t have to have all the knowledge beforehand. Other times I learned about myself as a person, my strengths and weaknesses and how to strengthen those weaknesses.
For example, I used to be afraid of saying “I don’t know,” during discussion, so I would not allow for the discussion to go beyond what questions and answers I had on the paper in front of me. This was the wrong way for me to think, it is ok to say “I don’t know,” and be empowered by it. I began digging into all the kids’ interesting question and contemplating the ideas they brought up. It was amazing that the kids were teaching me by their thoughts and questions. I learned just as much or more from the kid’s questions as from the lessons.
While I thought I was helping them, I realized they were helping me and I ended up doing most of the growing.
It is impossible to see whether or not someone is growing spiritually, but there are times that you get big signs that someone understands it. In my the second year of teaching, there was a large group presentation about how a family had a lamb that they loved so much, but they had to sacrifice it. The lamb represented Jesus and how God the Father loved Jesus so much, but He loved us just as much. God decided to sacrifice His Son, Jesus, to have a relationship with us. During this presentation, one of my students turned to me with tears in her eyes, and she said: “I get it.” It was in that moment that I knew God was using me to help these kids have a lifesaving relationship with Him.
Another amazing reason to get involved with kids is that they are way smarter than any adult gives them credit for. They listen and observe everything, like little sponges. Even when it seems like a kid isn’t paying attention, they are usually the ones that know every answer by the end of the lesson. I’ve decided that teaching others is the best way to learn! The only downside to being a shepherd is that it doesn’t last forever (with the same group that is). Leaving my class was the hardest thing about going to college. I had been with them for four years and got to see them transform from squirrely little first graders into fourth graders who were strong and full of faith. One of the main reasons I decided to pour into kids is all thanks to the people who poured into me first. In Kids Ministry it truly all builds on itself and the small things we do matter so much to kids. Thanks to the many people and the ministry I was blessed to be in and a part of, I now look forward to a lifetime of ministry as a future Director of Christian Education.
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About the Author
Lydia Woods is an intern in Kids Kount helping make events like VBS, Summer Spectacular happen.