“One generation commends Your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.” // Psalm 145:4
We’ve been talking about the value our church puts in investing “beyond our campus and beyond this generation” and we’d love to put another opportunity before you to tangibly “commend His works to one another.” Here are a few stories from a few of our amazing volunteers so you can hear first-hand of why they love serving with R/Kids and why you should join them this upcoming R/Kids Summer Session – June 6th through September 5th!
Mike & Jennifer Brown
In the early 2000’s, we felt the desire to serve at church. We wanted to do something that could include our kids and also incorporate our love for children. We started as subs and quickly found out how much we loved serving these little angels. We brought all four of our kids into the classroom and served in a 2 year old class as a family. Our kids learned so much about serving and loving others not to mention the 2 year olds loved having the big kids to play with. We were able to be hands and feet to the parents of these kids by sharing the gospel, organized playtime and keeping them in a safe environment. Our own kids learned and grew as well. What a blessing it is and 14 years later we still love it.
It’s easy for me to get in a routine of serving, especially when I’ve been doing the ‘same‘ thing for many years. In R/Kids, it can get overwhelming and challenging every time the school year starts depending on what kiddos come rolling in and what my life is looking like. Sounds weird and selfish, but sometimes I think I can’t handle one more thing! Then, I think it’s just an hour or two of my time. My time? So much is wrong with that statement because ALL of my time is really HIS time, right?! So, when I think of serving from that perspective, I’m reminded of how many children I have encountered because I am given the opportunity to be there for them, and it’s pretty amazing! All the fun memories and the chaos brings joy, simply because it was never about me, but them – and ultimately, Him. I think about how they look at me with ease as they enter the class and I watch them walk away with anticipation of our next adventure. I don’t know if they really even hear all the great things God speaks of through me in His word, but I know they ‘see‘ it in our class. Through all the people serving alongside me, it’s all I really have to give them—Jesus; and I wholeheartedly believe it is the best gift anyone could give them! I stay in that classroom because I know I am planting a seed and pray that God would allow me the honor of watching that seed grow in everything they do once they leave my room. Most importantly, I serve in that classroom because those kids matter! Every child matters, and if I want them to thrive, I need to provide a space of love and safety so their parents can learn about the only One who can save.
I serve in children’s ministries because God and children’s ministries are gracious enough to entrust me with the privilege. I know this sounds like a churchy answer, but I often reflect on how I am not talented or good enough to be trusted with these precious kiddos (who are so fun and funny and lovable) and yet God has nevertheless placed me in this ministry and blesses my weak contribution, and children’s ministries welcomes me with wide open arms and makes me feel so loved and valuable. In light of that, how could I stay away? Even when I might have wanted to stay away, you all pulled me back in, and I am so grateful!
As far as the fruit in me: the kiddos routinely teach me how to love and worship with joy. One example comes from way back when I first started in kindergarten. We were watching a movie and had popcorn in cups (it was so long ago this was normal), and one of our girls asked for a cup of popcorn to eat while she watched the movie. I suggested she eat the popcorn at the table, and she insisted that she could carry the popcorn to her chair in front of the television and eat without spilling. Sure enough, within seconds of sitting in her chair, popcorn was flying through the air all around her. And as I was rolling my eyes and thinking, “of course,” and I could hear another teacher behind me laughing, another little girl who was sitting next to the popcorn fountain jumped up, turned to her, and said with all enthusiasm, “I’ll help you because I love you!” How perfect! How lovely! What a model for me and all of us! In all things, we can joyfully say to one another and/or God, “I’ll _______ because I love you!”
In terms of fruit I have seen in others: the challenge of children’s ministry is that a lot of times we are planting and sowing in faith that there will be fruit in these kiddos we may never see. And then in elementary, especially with the older ones, they say and do these beautiful things about God or toward one another, and you know it’s the fruit of a lot of people’s loving labor. And, as time has passed, I have had the joy of having children who were in my early childhood classes come back as teen or young adult helpers in my classrooms, which is ultimate joy because then you see in them the love and wisdom and servant’s hearts that are the fruit not only of a lot of parents’ and teachers’ and others’ faithful work but even more so God’s goodness in growing and loving the child we loved so much. And of course there are the teen helpers that came back year after year after year so that we get to watch God grow them. Watching Andres Duran grow up from a little boy into a strong young man with a big heart was such a privilege for me.
I could talk all day about the ways God has grown me in and through children’s ministries. I have certainly grown in my knowledge of and love for His word. I have learned to listen with love and intent and to speak more clearly and positively. As I have learned deep and practical truths from the words and actions of the kiddos in my classes, I have been trained to value every person—big or small—as a source of wisdom and encouragement. My definition of success has changed from the flawless execution of a plan to sending kiddos home happy, healthy, loved, and hopefully having experienced God’s goodness. I could go on. I guess the bottomline is I have had the opportunity to love and to be loved by kids and grownups alike, and that has inevitably changed me.
Brian & Lisa Buck
As long as we have been believers we have always felt the gentle tug of God on our hearts to serve Him in some way. When our own kids were young we lead in children’s ministries, volunteered at their school or helped with their sports teams to make sure we were a part of their lives as they grew up. We always appreciated and saw the importance of the many volunteers who invested their time in our kids. We are life long friends with many of them.
When our son was called to youth ministry, it felt natural to volunteer under his leadership in Ignite (5th and 6th graders). When he moved to be on staff with Redemption Gateway during the pandemic, he was sorely missed. As the pandemic subsided we felt the need to stand in the gap until more volunteers came back around. We are happy to see all the kids returning to Ignite and growing in the knowledge that God loves them. And so do we!
I’ve been serving at R/Kids off and on since I was little, but I came back on my own once I graduated in 2018. I love serving in children’s ministry because I get to spend time with kids and watch how they interact with God and others. Volunteering has provided an opportunity for me to openly share my faith in fun ways. I have more knowledge and experience with loving and serving people. Being able to share the word of God with children has seriously impacted my faith, especially since the kids in my class are so inquisitive.
I have worked in Redemption Kids for 8 years now, and have loved every moment of it! Watching the kids in my class grow into their personalities and love for Jesus is so rewarding. Every year, we have a unique group of kiddos that become friends inside and out of the classroom. The people I’ve worked with have also made the experience better, as I have enjoyed getting to know them and teach kids about Jesus together, which is lots of fun!