Archive - October, 2015

Leading Them to God-Esteem

ID-10049918I once saw two different posters depicting runners. One pictured a man confidently running down a sandy beach with the caption,

Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.

Now compare this to the second poster I saw. It depicts a runner sitting on a bench in obvious despair, with his head in his hands. The caption reads:

Failure–When your best just isn’t good enough.

On the face of it, these two posters seem at opposite ends of the contemporary focus on self-esteem: high self-esteem vs. low self-esteem. But as strange as it may seem, they are really just two sides of the same coin, because they both have a common focus: SELF. Just as high self-esteem is dressed-up pride, low self-esteem is dressed-up despair.

What’s the point of bringing this up? Because this same kind of self-esteem emphasis may subtlety creep into our children’s ministry. And so often, secular educational philosophy tends to push us in the direction of encouraging higher self-esteem as we teach and interact with children. To that end, important biblical truths become skewed as they put the emphasis in the wrong place…

God loves ME. God made ME special. God hears ME when I pray. God takes care of ME.

So what’s the solution to this skewed emphasis? Would the goal be to make children feel insignificant and worthless? Here is a quote I have posted before, but it bears repeating and pondering again:

Our aim is not to take a child’s low views of self and replace them with high views of self. Rather our aim is to take a child’s low views of God and replace them with high views of God.

 Our aim is not to take a child with little sense of worth and fill him with a great sense of worth.

 Rather our aim is to take a child who by nature makes himself the center of the universe and show him that he was made to put God at the center of the universe and get joy not from seeing his own tiny worth, but from knowing Christ who is of infinite worth.

 (from John Piper’s sermon, “Predestined for Adoption to the Praise of His Glory,” ©2015 Desiring God Foundation, desiringGod.org)

(Image courtesy of puttsk at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

 

 

Future Pastors and Elders in the Nursery?

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Read on, he is not talking about the little baby boys in our nurseries:

As I’ve observed, many seminary students and other brothers aspiring to pastoral ministry are always on the lookout for opportunities to serve in the church. Regrettably, I think sometimes we have our sights set on only one type of service—public teaching. Of course, nothing is necessarily wrong with desiring to exercise your gifts, putting them under the evaluation of the church, and cultivating pastoral skills for future ministry. The problem is that many aspiring pastors fall into the trap of thinking this only happens by engaging in the adult teaching ministry of the church.

Serving in the nursery may not feel like a time to cultivate your pastoral gifts, but that may mean you have a too narrow or professionalized view of pastoral ministry. We cannot reduce pastoral ministry to proclamation and teaching, though that task is obviously central and essential (2 Tim. 4:2). If we take our cues from the character qualifications given to elders in 1 Timothy and the example of Jesus’s own life, we find a comprehensive picture for Christian ministry that is both more beautiful and more daunting than anything like mastering Greek and Hebrew. Serving small children in nursery might just be the place to cultivate the very character qualities Christ demands of those who would lead his church.

… So brothers, serve in the nursery. Serve in children’s Sunday school. Don’t let your M.Div., Ph.D., or any other life situation or experience convince you that you’re overqualified to emulate our Lord’s example. In our cultural context, picking up saliva-soggy Cheerios off the floor, … and telling a toddler about Jesus may just be the closest thing you ever do to washing someone’s feet.

(from “Brothers, Serve in Nursery” by Samuel Emadi at www.gospelcoalition.org)

As a children’s ministry worker, I am always encouraged when I see seminary students and even current elders serving in various capacities in children’s ministries. It gives us an opportunity to see their servant-like character and also benefit from their theological insights and knowledge. It gives these men a front-line perspective of the importance of proclaiming the glorious deeds of the Lord to the next generation and the specific challenges and joys of doing this in young hearts and minds.

You can read the entire article here.

(Image courtesy of tuelekza at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/brothers-serve-in-the-nursery

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