Kids Ministry Myths

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By Bobby Williams

One of the questions I often get as a pastor when people are deciding to attend the Ridge is, “What do you have for my kids?”

It’s a good question and one I appreciate. It tells me they care enough to ask.

But as often as I get that question, almost as often, I find people who just simply know very little about our Ridge Kids ministry (some are even parents!).

So I thought I would take a moment to talk about a few common myths about Kids ministry & what really goes on in Ridge Kids.

Myth #1- Ridge Kids is Sunday School

I don’t what kind of Sunday school classes you went to as a kid, but for me it was rather boring.

We sat in a dull painted, cold room with a teacher who had *maybe prepared 5 minutes before we walked in.

Plus think about the language used; teacher, lesson, school…another day of school????

At Ridge Kids, we don’t do Sunday school, we do a kids experience. It is designed to be FUN & engaging for children & centered on the gospel. Oh did I mention fun? YES! They intentionally are having fun!

Myth #2- We send kids downstairs so the adults can worship

Wrong.

In fact we encourage older children to attend a worship service on occasion. We love it when kids & parents can worship together.

We don’t baby sit kids so the adults can go to church. We engage children in an environment built with them in mind so they too can experience Jesus in the same relevant ways adults are.

Myth #3- Anyone can work with kids

I mean really, how hard can it be?

It’s not that it’s hard, but it does require a different kind of person. Someone who loves kids is a great place to start. A Ridge Kids volunteer needs to be a person who takes seriously teaching children about Jesus.

Also, they need to be safe. We take the safety our kids very seriously & this is why “just anyone” can not volunteer in that area.

Myth #4- Adult ministry is more important

Show me a church that values adult ministry over kids or student ministries & I will show you a church that will get old & die.

Truth is, they are equally important. And if anything, kids & student ministries near more of an emphasis & attention.

Did you know that a majority of people give their life to Christ before the age of 16? The older a person gets, the chances decrease.

So YES- it’s very important.

Myth #5- Kids are the church of tomorrow

No, kids are the church of NOW.

Kids & students are just as much part of the church as adults. By saying they are the church of tomorrow, we’re saying they are not important now but will be later.

If we don’t make it important now, there will be later.

The God That Grieves With Us

  
By Wesley Hicks
Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

The shortest verse in the Bible, yet to me I have found it to have some of the deepest meaning in my life.  

Can I just say that grief and loss sucks? I guess I just did, but can we all agree that none of us wake up this morning hoping to experience grief? 

 The unavoidable fact, however, is that each one of us will at some point or another experience the loss of a loved one. Whether it be a close friend, grandparent, spouse, or child each time we experience loss the sting seemingly wounds our very souls. This is a basic human truth, but what we sometimes miss is how much God also hurts with us and for us.

​Let me start with some of my most painful moments of grief so that what I am saying may become more clearly understood. In 2012 my wife and I were pregnant with our first child, Farrah Adin, and on December 26th of that year we discovered that we lost our daughter a little over half-way through the pregnancy. Needless to say, we were devastated. Even in writing this, I find old wounds resurfacing and my heart breaks at the loss of our daughter.

 After having an amazing daughter a couple of years later, we became pregnant for a third time. This time, twins, but on December 31, 2015, during a routine doctor’s visit, my wife found out that one of our twins had passed away. That was a phone call that I will never forget. My heart had been ripped open yet again to re-live the pain from losing Farrah, and at the same time, the additional devastation of losing one of our sons. To say that I was troubled would be the understatement of a lifetime.

 Loss…….well, loss hits us in some of the deepest and most devastating ways that is humanely possible. Why?

You see, it is in this question of why that oddly enough I began to feel the most peace that I can ever recall experiencing in my entire life to this point. It is the question, “why do these things happen,” that may be a blog for another day, but the question of “why does this hurt so badly.” It was with this question that God met me where I hurt, and John 11:35 spoke into me some of the most life changing truths that I think I have ever received with the only exceptions being the Word as it led me to salvation in Jesus.

The truth is, that it hurts so deeply and intensely because we were never designed to experience it in the first place. It was here that I saw Jesus so deeply troubled with the loss of a friend and the grief of Lazarus’ loved ones that I was reminded that our broken existence also breaks God’s heart. 

 Think about this, you and I were designed at creation to experience life everlasting in communion with each other and open communion with the God of all the universe. Because of sin, that design was transformed into a broken shell of what God created us to experience. The impacts of sin are more than just loss and grief, but it definitely has brought us to a place to specifically experience each of those severely. Now, since we can see that the original design was not for us to encounter death or loss, but to fully experience abundant life with God and with others. We were made for more and when we experience loss it triggers grief as a natural result and can be a reminder of our design to experience more. This is not lost on God.

Jesus Wept. 

 You see all of this is something that deeply impacts God. That statement reminded me of how much He hates what has happened to cause us to experience this broken existence. He hates it so much that it grieves Him, and ultimately so much that He took on flesh so that He could take on death to redeem the brokenness and restore the original design for His children. You see God sees us in our grief and He shares in our pain. I think not only does He share it, but I honestly think it breaks His heart more than it ever hits us. 

When we experience loss, God sees it as a loving Father. Imagine your child, broken and in heart wrenching pain. Can you feel your heart burdened by just that image? That is a dim reflection of the compassion God has for His children as we experience brokenness. He grieves with us and has paid unlimited cost to resolve what causes us to experience it with the currency of His own Son.

Loss hurts, but I have peace in it all. I have peace because my pain is not lost on God, and because He grieves with me and deeper than I can even begin to imagine. I have peace because in it all, He has already paid the price to make new what was broken. I have peace because the one that is in control of the life that experience pain is also the one that grieves the most because of it. I can trust a God that is there through it all, and has never once waivered in His deep love for me. 

 It’s odd; I have never hurt so much as I have in the last few years, and at the same time I can honestly say I have never trusted God more nor had more peace that I do today. 

 Jesus Wept. It’s funny how two words can change everything so much. My hope is that those two words and understanding why will help you to trust Him more than ever before. It does not always take the pain away, but you will never be alone in the middle of it. 

 

21 Days of Prayer | Day 21 

By Kevin Bradford 

We close out our 21 day journey today. We have heard from many different people at Ridge Church throughout the past 3 weeks, each bringing a unique perspective of a variety of topics. It’s been inspiring!

My prayer is the same as it was on day 1: that we approach God with confidence. I encourage you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to remember that you have direct access to God the Father because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Shed off any thoughts of unworthiness that keep you from talking to Him every moment of the day. I used this quote from Oswald Chambers before, and I’ll use it again because the message is so important and urgent: Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surpassing power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides. 
My prayer for today:
Lord, I want to know you more, to see you more, and to experience you in ways I have yet to. Deepen my understanding of you so that my worship and my life can be more rich and wonderful than ever. Thank you for sending Jesus your Son as a sacrifice for my sin and to intercede on my behalf. Help me to remember this as I approach you and seek you more. May the reflection of the gospel in me grow clearer and brighter as I draw closer to you.

I pray for my brothers and sisters. Help each of us to build margin in our lives to experience life in you which is greater than we could ever imagine. Strengthen us as we walk in your truth. I pray that an eagerness to meet with you and an expectation of seeing you move would grow within us.

Amen.

21 Days of Prayer | Day 20

By Denira Williams 

Today’s prayer is focused on praying for your pastor and his family. I feel a little weird writing this post, but I guess I am the one who knows your pastor and his family the best! As you pray for Bobby and our family, pray for the other pastors in our church as well. They all have a tough job and need your prayers daily.

There are 4 things I would ask you to pray over for our family and the families of the other pastors.
1. Pray for our children. Pray they grow up loving God and loving people. My biggest fear in ministry is that my children will grow up resenting the church. Kids who have parents in ministry so often spend a ton of time at the church and sharing their parents constantly with the ministry isn’t always easy.
2. Pray for our marriages. It’s hard to do ministry when your marriage isn’t where it should be. Sometimes it’s hard to keep priorities straight when there is so much in the ministry that needs attention. Pray that we remember God first, spouse next, kids and then the church.

3. Pray for our health, especially around big “events”. I can almost guarantee that someone in my family will get sick the week of Easter and the week of Christmas. It happens every year. I remember one year the stomach bug ran rampant through not just our family but the families of the lead team the entire week of Easter. Satan loves to use this to distract us and take our focus off God.

4. Pray for our personal spiritual growth. A lot of times in ministry we are leading everyone around us in ministry that it can get hard for us to stop and just focus on our relationship with God. I find myself praying a lot just for quiet moments with God so that I can refocus my eyes on him.

Bobby and I love you all so much and love serving along side you! This is the greatest adventure of our lives and we are so glad you are here with us!

21 Days of Prayer | Day 19

By Amanda Pyle 

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Protection is the act of shielding from harm: the state of being shielded from harm or a person or thing that shields from harm. The part I love about this definition is “a person” that shields from harm. A person could be Mom’s, Dad’s, Grandparent’s, Sibling’s, Teacher’s, Friend’s, Pastor’s or most importantly God. Did you know that we serve a God that shields us from harm? Psalm 18:2-3 tells us, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”

As a mom of five amazing kids, I can’t physically meet every one of their individual needs and definitely cannot go every direction that they go. I must believe and trust that God will protect them. God sends his angels to watch over all of us. It’s in; Psalm 91:11-12, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” Also in, Psalm 34:7, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.” Ever since our girls were babies and since the boys have been placed in our lives; we pray this with them and over them each night before bed:    
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my sole to keep and the angels watch me through the night and keep me safe till morning light.”
Prayer:
Father God,
I pray a mighty shield of protection over the Ridge Church. Each family has a story and each story is important to you God. I pray for a host of angels to protect them and be with each family, not only through the night but through each day too. You don’t promise us a world free of danger but you do promise that you will be with us to help when we face challenges. Let us be reminded that your faithful promises are our armor, Father. You know our name and you know our direction! I pray that we fear no evil because you, Father, are with us. In Jesus name, Amen