Whatever Happened to the Paper Towels?

I remember, years ago, when all public restrooms had the same towels.  They were on a roll, in a dispenser, with a little handle on the right side that, when cranked, produced a never ending loop of blue cloth towel material.  Eventually, paper rolls replaced cloth.  I think this happened because most of us wondered how the dispenser knew where the dirty towels

stopped, and the clean towels began.  Next came folded paper towels in recessed dispensers and vertical rolls of paper towels that when dispensed produced a paper towel “rope”.  After that came the electric hand dryer that was to replace paper forever and be environmentally friendly.  Now we’ve been blessed with paper towel dispensers with infrared sensors.  Wave your hand in front of the dispenser and you may or may not receive almost enough paper towel to dry your hands.  Drying your hands in our Costco involves putting your hands, up to your elbows, in what looks and feels like a jet engine.  The hurricane force of the air dries your hands as you lift them out.  And I’ve noticed that often there are two or three choices in one restroom for drying your hands. But, is it possible, that in our search for the perfect paper towel dispenser, have we forgotten that the goal is to simply dry our hands?

Children’s ministry is like that.  Today, we have an almost limitless amount of tools and techniques, and incredible technology and media options for ministry.  In our search for the perfect ministry tool, have we sometimes forgotten that our ministry is to individual children, helping them to understand God’s love? 

The people who were instrumental in bringing me to Christ as a rambunctious 8 year old, were ordinary people, who just loved us.  Mr. McAndrews had a cool motorcycle and a big smile.  Mr. Leedy, didn’t say much, but we all knew he cared.  I don’t remember who drove the bus that picked me up, but I do remember that I was the first one on the bus, and the last one let off.  I liked that because the bus driver was nice.  I can’t remember who gave the message that God used to draw me to Himself.  I can’t remember who prayed with me when I made the decision to trust Christ.  I just know that they loved me.

Jesus said that we should be known for our love.  He said the greatest commandment was to love God with all we have, and love others as ourselves.  In 1 Corinthians 13:13 Paul says “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  Successful children’s ministry is this: love God so much that it overflows from your life into the lives of individual children.  Love God, love kids.

Near where we live, a local Italian restaurant has a wicker basket next to the sink with a stack of paper towels.  No dispenser, just towels, and dry hands.

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