Heartprints

An Inescapable Cat and Mouse Hunt to Build, Maintain or Revitalize a Children’s Ministry?

Whack! Tom hits Jerry with the metal rod. Jerry, though seeing a few stars quickly rotating above his head, escapes through the miniscule mouse hole alongside the wall of the living room. Tom is the cat and Jerry is the mouse in the classic Tom and Jerry cartoon series, normally filled with scene-after-scene of a cat hunting the mouse. Last week my 4-year-old daughter and I enjoyed giggling at the humorous and seemingly painful scenes showing the hunt. Many times the cartoon leaves you in suspense, leading you to conclude almost certainty of Jerry’s death but always escapes. Is Children’s ministry like Tom and Jerry? Are we always hunting ways to build, maintain or even revitalize the ministry but coming up empty handed, misdirected, confused, hurt, discouraged, yelled at, laughed at, angry or hopeless?

Whack! Tom hits Jerry with the metal rod. Jerry, though seeing a few stars quickly rotating above his head, escapes through the miniscule mouse hole alongside the wall of the living room. Tom is the cat and Jerry is the mouse in the classic Tom and Jerry cartoon series, normally filled with scene-after-scene of a cat hunting the mouse. Last week my 4-year-old daughter and I enjoyed giggling at the humorous and seemingly painful scenes showing the hunt. Many times the cartoon leaves you in suspense, leading you to conclude almost certainty of Jerry’s death but always escapes. Is Children’s ministry like Tom and Jerry? Are we always hunting ways to build, maintain or even revitalize the ministry but coming up empty handed, misdirected, confused, hurt, discouraged, yelled at, laughed at, angry or hopeless?

The Gospel of Mark directs us away from the inescapable cat and mouse hunt to build, maintain or revitalize a children’s ministry by revealing who Jesus the Christ is! Mark begins to identify Jesus (Mark 1:1), reveals we are to follow Jesus (Mark 8:29) and results in a non-disciple, non-religious leader, non-family member, heathen, unbeliever coming to believe and proclaim Jesus as the Son of God (Mark 15:39)! The narrative or story of the Gospel of Mark is to resemble our ministries, especially children’s ministries. We are to identify Jesus and reveal that all are to follow Jesus, and in so doing, Jesus will provoke those listening to proclaim Him to all nations.

Let’s begin asking questions to the text of scripture that will provide the reason, motivation, guidelines and application for our children’s ministry to provoke others to believe, obey and proclaim Jesus. First, why start with Jesus? Because Jesus is the source of our ministry life as much as He is the source for our eternal salvation. Second, why is Jesus’ accurate identity so important to the building blocks of a spiritual healthy children’s ministry? Mark leads us to understand that a ministry is only that which reveals the gospel or good news of Jesus the Christ, Son of God (Mark 1:1). If there is no Jesus or a false identified Jesus, then there is truly no ministry. The arts and crafts, service times, people involved, people targeted, financial investments, buildings, supplies, hours of labor, etc. all contribute to something, and therefore, does it contribute to the advance of Jesus or something else?

The next two posts will describe a “No Jesus” and a “False Jesus” children’s ministry and how to begin a healthy direction in identifying the real Jesus.

To be continued …

Further Reading: The Trellis and the Vine

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This is part of the blog posts series from Missional Education on the gospel in children’s ministry.

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