Summary: The Challenge facing the church today is: IS THERE A PLACE FOR OUR CHILDREN IN MINISTRY? IS THERE A LAD HERE WITH GIFTS TO OFFER? IS THERE A GIRL HERE WHO HAS GIFTS TO OFFER? Well, let’s see as we approach our Target Text.
“I will give my voice to the Lord.
All the words I bring, all the songs I sing,
I will give them to the Lord.
I will give my hands to the Lord.
All the things they do will be good and true,
I will give them to the Lord.
I will give my heart to the Lord.
All the things I love are for Him above,
I will give them to the Lord.”
“There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?”
The New International Version translates this same verse thusly:
“Here is a Boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
From those words, I want to highlite this headline in our little chat.
“There Is A Lad Here” or
“A Child’s Ministry”
It appear to me that as the church has entered this New Millennium, It has finally grasped the meaning of the concept of “Ministry.” We no longer operate, for the most part, from the Departmental and Auxiliary Mentality. We now see the interrelatedness and interdependence of Service. I think I can report that we now think in terms of Teaching Ministry, Preaching Ministry, Equipping Ministry, Evangelistic Ministry, Pastoral Ministry, Deacons’ Ministry, Music Ministry, Counseling Ministry and so forth. For the most part, we no longer try to “Departmentalize the Spirit” nor do we think in terms of “Auxiliarizing the Gifts of the Spirit.”
We are finally ministering To individuals. We have finally taken “the towel of service” [as the late Dr. Sandy Ray put it] and have begun to wash the feet of hurting humanity. For we are actively Taking the Gospel to the Streets of our Chocolate Cities and Vanilla Suburbs. We are actively finding homo-sapiens in their hurts and hopelessness and ministering to their needs. We minister “To” all with regard to race, creed, color or national origin. We minister “To” men, women, boys and girls. Yes, we are finally ministering TO individuals.
But we have not yet opened up ministry For all. We still lack a ministry “For” all. We have ministries “For Men” [Pastoral, Deacon, Stewards, Evangelists, Teachers, Prophets etc.]. We have ministries “For Women” [Preaching, Teaching, Witnessing, Counseling, Missionaries, Deaconness, etc.]. We have ministries “For Young Adults” [Singles’ Ministry, Teaching, Preaching, Evangelizing, Administrative, Counseling, etc.]. But there is yet a Ministry For Youths, For the Little Boys and Girls, For the Lads and Lassies! We still minister “To” them, but there is really not a Ministry For them in which they can minister to others!
Seeing this void, this oversight, the concern often expressed is: “We’ve got to find a way to get our young folk involved. We’ve got to find something for our youth and young people to do!” But, we think in terms of “Activities and Programs.” Car Washes, Lock-ins, Drill Teams, Praise Dance, Trips and Retreats, Fun and Games, Singing, Ushering, Boys and Girls Scouts and all kinds of clubs. Now don’t misunderstand me. These are fine as “Activities,” but they are not
“Ministry.” As it relates to our Lads and Lassies, we are still operating from a “Departmental and Auxiliary Mentality!”
Thus, we have these Generational Crises. The local church decreases in numbers and waxes weak in power and influence because we have trained our Kids FOR Auxiliary Activities and Departmental Decorum and not FOR MINISTRY! Over the years, we create a lust for “doing something” but not a love for “something vital and meaningful to do.” We create a lust for “Business” not a love for “the Business of Life,” which is Ministry!
Therefore, when our Kids mature into adulthood (for there will come a time when they must put away childish things) they will either Drop-Out of church temporarily or else remain attached to the “Organization” of the church but lack meaning and purpose for their lives, which only comes thru Ministry. At that time they will wonder: “Is this all to church membership cause if it is, I can do without this? Is this what salvation means, just rituals and routines?” Our numbers dwindle because they leave the local church visiting other churches and religions in search of meaning and purpose for their lives. All because we trained them for Auxiliary Activities and Departmental Decorum! But if we would train them now For Ministry, they can only wax stronger and stronger in grace and in the power of the Lord’s might; and thus, causing the church to do so as well.