By Alan Root
The best way to minister to a kid is to be a full-blown, fire-breathing, dangerously-contagious, incurably-infected carrier of an outbreak of faith in Jesus. At the point at which you and I become irrevocable followers of Christ, we also become a threat to the Kingdom of Darkness and a natural (or maybe super-natural) kid attracter.
Do you remember that the disciples kept trying to beat the kids away from Jesus, until Jesus realized what they were doing and he told the disciples to let them come? Kids love Jesus. I mean they absolutely LOVE him. And if you and I are a reflection of him, they’ll love us too. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Since kids can smell “fake” from across the room, we’ve got to be real. I’m NOT saying we have to be perfect in our Christian habits. I’m NOT saying that we’ve got to read our Bible 4 hours a day (though it couldn’t hurt) or that we need to fast once a week (though I could certainly use fewer calories in my life) or that we must go around singing Chris Tomlin all day (even though he is delightfully singable). I AM saying that our heart’s desire to get closer to the Lord, however bumbling and fumbling that desire is, will show in our lives and kids will pick up on it.
Do you remember your favorite teachers in school? I definitely remember mine. I didn’t fall for the teachers who tried to be just like their students: hip and cool. The teachers I loved were the ones who were passionate about the subjects they were teaching and seemed to eat and breathe and sleep those subjects. They ate their subjects on toast. They were consumed by the importance and relevance of their subjects. That love of what they taught gave them an irresistible attraction, even if they had odd mannerisms, or bad breath, or funny hair, or no discernible hair at all.I couldn’t wait to go to their classes because the very rooms in which they taught took on their subject matter like a storybook come to life.
In the same way, as we make Jesus our main focus and become more and more consumed by his Kingdom and his presence in our everyday lives, we’ll minister to kids without even trying. We’ll find ourselves affecting their perception of what life in Christ is: not piling up brownie points but diving deeper into a relationship. For obvious reasons, they may have believed that Christianity is a religion like all the other world religions: do something good, get a reward; do something bad, endure a punishment. But Christianity is not a world religion, it is a new way of living initiated by our Creator and brought into being by Jesus’ love for us shown at the manger, the cross and the empty tomb.
As we lean harder on Jesus in our own lives, as we come to depend upon his leading in our decisions, and as we stay transparent about our daily experience of life in Jesus, our ministry will be less something we DO and more something we ARE. Or at least something God is making us to be.
Let’s live our faith in front of a kid. Let’s show them the truth of Paul’s intimidating line, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) Paul was not saying he was perfect, he was just saying that he had found Someone worth following! May our Lord Jesus grant us a real walk of faith with him that can catch on with the kids in our lives.
Alan Root is basically harmless, although he is taller than he looks on his recordings. At 54 years of age, he still appears to be 53. He writes songs and plays keyboards, guitars and drums well enough to fool most people. He and his wife Emily have two daughters, Beka and Molly, and live just south of Nashville, north of a herd of cows. Visit Alan athttp://www.alanroot.com.