Slime, or Substance????
The first time I cut my grass this year, this slug was lurking under the grass catcher bag of my lawnmower. That is a quarter beside it so you can appreciate its size. The other picture is of my traditional “after fishing trip” breakfast in Santa Fe, NM. It is fried chicken livers, topped with eggs and salsa, served with fried potatoes. These two pictures have
one thing in common. They are the most commented on pictures on my facebook page in the past year. I’ve posted pictures of family, friends, and ministry. None have received the comments that chicken livers and eggs or slugs.
People are drawn to slimy stuff, even grown ups. In kids ministry the pendulum seems to swing as time goes by. It goes from an emphasis on entertainment, (which I’ll call “slime” to honor my slug), to an emphasis on clear Bible teaching, (which I’ll call “substance” so I can use cool alliteration).
For a while now, many ministries have been all about the slime. There were huge play apparatus in the children’s wings, great murals on the walls, and teachers dressed like Bible Characters. Video and audio is beyond compare.
Some, however, have decided to jettison the “slime” and turn to substance. Frenzied activity was replaced by classroom teaching that was unrivaled. Clear doctrine was shared every meeting without fail.
When ministry is all about the slime, lots of kids come but they learn very little. When it is all about the substance, not so many come, but the ones who do are learning. I’m not sure, but I think there is a better way.
We need balance. The first place to start is in our own heart. When I am honest with myself, I am more concerned about the substance. That is my bent. Therefore, as hard as it may be for me, I need to be sure that I add the slime. I have to surround myself with slimy people who are creative and fun. I’ll protect the substance just fine, but I need help with the slime.
Some of you may be bent toward the fun and creativity of the slime. That’s OK, but it isn’t enough. You need to find people who can communicate the substance of God’s word to all those kids you will attract with your creative slime.
For too long we have done ministry as either slime, or substance. It’s time we realize that neither is wrong, but either alone will not effectively reach as many kids as both will together.
Lets have all kinds of fun in our ministries, while giving deep substance to the kids to whom we minister.
PS - No slugs were harmed in the writing of this blog entry. The slug in the above picture was humanely captured and released into my yard waste container.