I don’t really know how I ended up in Children’s Ministry; I remember a series of experiences and encounters that led me to the place where one afternoon I sat across from my Pastor as he asked me what I wanted to do after I finished Bible College. My response was, ‘I think I’ll apply for a job as a children’s pastor’. At the time, 21 years old, what I was thinking was I couldn’t really do anything or go anywhere without some experience under my belt and for that it seemed reasonable I have a ministry background.
I had gone on two missions trips to Mexico where I worked with children (not on purpose), I served in children’s ministry (just to ‘fill the need’), and I participated in outreaches with kids, again totally on accident. I wasn’t setting out to be in ‘children’s ministry’, it just happened that way.
I had been working at a Christian pre-school where I brought my guitar in and started singing songs with the kids, I found every song I could using the 3 chords I knew. I never was seeking to entertain the kids, but to really lead them in worship. I have no idea where the idea or concept of the possibility came from. Here I am, a 23 year old, barely saved a few years, not having any concepts of ‘Sunday school songs’ or ‘doing church’ watching 2-3 year olds life their hands, close their eyes, and sway to the worship songs. Something happened somewhere, I’m just not sure what or where.
Simultaneously, I am serving at my church in children’s ministry, still have no idea what I’m doing, but it seemed to fit somehow who I was, at least in that place of my journey. I am teaching the kids from curriculum, but not really, I am really teaching them the same things I am learning in my journey with God. I am singing the same songs with them the ‘grown-ups’ are singing, and we are really no different in the children’s church than the adult church. One Sunday I feel from the Lord to have an altar call for kids who want to encounter God. I invite them to line up across the front. Having no idea what I’m doing, I just start laying hands on them and praying for them all. Several fell over, slain in the Spirit, and God began moving on them in ways I hadn’t anticipated. Some of the toughest kids were crying, some of the complacent regulars were having their first ‘real’ encounter, and many were having dreams being put into their hearts. Something came inside me.
I began to believe things I had no proof or evidence for. I began to believe that children could see God. That they could experience Him, see divine revelations, be full of the Holy Spirit, and operate in the miraculous. Where did these ideas come from? No one I knew preached any of this; of course, I had no exposure to Children’s Ministry teaching or anything of the like. So I began to pray and fast over what God wanted to do. I asked God to give me vision for what He wanted the children’s ministry to look like. I was still teaching the kids, but I began believing differently about them, and they started operating in the gifts of the Spirit more and more.
It’s not really about the manifestations, like falling over, speaking in tongues, and gold dust on their hands, though those things kept us fascinated with God, but more than anything, the deep hunger the children dove into in worship is what marks those days for me as supernatural. I am talking about children, as young as 4 and 5 years old with the grace to worship God for hours at a time. I mean, on their faces, kneeling, weeping for one, two, and sometimes three hours straight, without puppets and object lessons. I knew there was something more that I had no Biblical evidence for that God wanted to do. It was like there was a secret God was showing us without explaining it to my mind. I had all these things, these beliefs in me that I couldn’t prove or express, and then one day a piece of the puzzle came together.
Johnny and I went to a Children’s Ministry seminar, perhaps the first ever I went to. It was in Orangevale at Family Christian Center, a man named David Walters was speaking on Children and the Holy Spirit. When he spoke about children receiving the ‘same Holy Ghost’ adults get, I knew I was about to get some sense made out of what I had been experiencing. He brought scripture to the things that were inside me that I couldn’t explain. Here it came… the revelation that changed my life. 1 Samuel 3:1-10.
Here it is. Verse 1 says Samuel ministered before the Lord, YET there was no widespread revelation of the Lord, meaning people were not generally hearing from God, they ministered to Him but were not able to hear Him speak. Verse 7 says Samuel did not yet know the Lord. So Samuel is ministering, in faith, to a God he does not know and cannot hear. So far this sounds like Children’s church right? We are teaching children the actions, the motions of worshipping God. O.k., so here’s the big kicker…
Verse 8, “And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD had called the boy.”
When does Samuel hear God speak? After Eli believes he can. Wow. Did you get that? See I realized that the Lord had given me something greater than the ability to teach children about God or train them in how to worship Him. He gave me belief in them. I had no proof that kids could hear God speak to them and live their destinies AS a child, but I knew, I believed, they didn’t have to wait until they grew up to experience Him.
From that day forward I daily sought, and continue to seek God in His holy, supernatural, habitation. I am not satisfied with rituals, routines, or religion. God is real. And the dimensions He dwells I am dying to cross over into. I believe children have a greater access to the realms of God because they simply don’t have to fight their minds and all the things ‘they know’ to be ‘reality’ like we ‘grown-ups’ do. I believe children have a greater access to the supernatural because I believe the closer we get to the return of Christ, the greater revelation and Spirit of Prophecy is released. This means that there is more revelation of God’s word and His glory than ever before in human history. This also then means that the youngest generation alive today has the greatest access to hearing Him, seeing Him, and knowing Him than any generation since the fall of man. (Joel 2:28)
Wow. Let me know your thoughts on that-gina