The final weeks of summer are usually a time when children’s ministry leaders and parents rev into high gear, building up energy for the start of Sunday school, clubs and outreach events.
But when a pandemic knocks us off our feet, facing another ministry season may inspire more dread than delight. Many kids’ leaders, teachers, parents and caregivers are limping into fall, worn out from navigating the preceding months. We want to share Jesus, but are overwhelmed by the obstacles standing in the way.
Maybe you memorized that pithy little verse from Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God” (vs 10a). It offers some great advice for how to plan our next ministry steps when we don’t know what to do.
Children’s ministry is a high-energy calling at the best of times. Kids are not still, and we feel like we can’t be still, either. There is always something else to be done. The pandemic has only exacerbated this demand, with the rush to learn new technologies and come up with new and creative ways to stay connected with kids and families.
And yet, there are those two little words. Be. Still. Stop, take a moment (or three), breathe. Our tendency is to try to solve all the problems ourselves. Remember, God’s got this. Without him, we can do nothing; he promises that when we remain in him, he will remain in us and our ministry will be fruitful (John 15:5).
To know something is to have it take deep root in your heart and mind. It’s not a flaky promise, suggesting that we might figure it out if we’re quiet for long enough. It’s for right now. Be still. And know. Know the deep, abiding peace that God brings amidst the craziness swirling around us.
THAT I AM
When Moses encountered God in the burning bush and asked his name, God replied, “I AM” (Exodus 3:14). Not “I will be” or “I might be” or “I was”, but I AM. Right now, in this place. A pandemic cannot scare God off. He is with you.
Ah, yes. My name does not appear anywhere here, nor does yours! We are not the ones in charge, that honour belongs to the great I Am, the God of the universe. Be still and let that awe-inspiring thought sink in. God takes what we bring…even if it’s just a stutter and staff like Moses…and will use those things to bring others to himself.
Sometimes in our fondness for memorable Bible quotes, we forget to take a look at the bigger picture. As a whole, Psalm 46 details how God is our refuge and strength when the world is crumbling around us. (Sound familiar?)
He promises that even when things are grim, he will be “honored by every nation…honored throughout the world. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress” (vs. 10b-11).
Moving forward with ministry during a crisis is not easy. However, when we take the time to be still and know who God is, our confidence will grow. Ministry will happen even in the midst of a pandemic. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is for us, and for our kids. That’s a promise!
Kelly Rempel is Director of Creative Communications for One Hope Canada.