Just a Phase: Inspire Leaders
Every child needs a consistent adult at church. I don’t remember much of anything from being a preschooler at church except this: There was always a guy, one of the greeters, who had a piece of gum for me and my brother when we got to church. Same guy every week. I can’t tell you his name. My family left that church when I was six, but during those itty-bitty years, I knew I could count on that greeter.
The premise of Just a Phase when it comes to adults who serve with kids is this: Every kid needs a consistent adult at church. For us, this becomes their small group leader on Sundays or table leader on Wednesdays.
Joiner and Ivy say that preschoolers need this relationship because they can be terrified by an unfamiliar face; elementary students because they will tell anything to a stranger; middle schoolers because nothing else in their life is consistent; and high schoolers because they only trust people who show up consistently. Sound about right?
A consistent leader in UpStreet doesn’t do the same things that a leader in CREW does. The time commitment is different, the teaching style is different.
Leaders of preschoolers embrace them so they feel safe.
Leaders of elementary students engage them so they can believe.
Leaders of middle schoolers affirm them so they will keep believing.
Leaders of high schoolers mobilize them to participate in something significant.
The common theme is this: Small group leaders get to know multiple kids in the same phase, and that gives them an advantage. Over time, a person who works with 2nd graders week in and week out begins to know how they tick and learns how to engage their thought process to encourage trust in Christ.
Most of us who serve in kid’s ministry may not think of ourselves as experts. We may doubt our own faith at times or wish we knew more about the Bible. But we cannot underestimate the power of showing up consistently. You can grow in your faith. You can learn more about Scripture. But you cannot pass it on to the next generation if you’re sporadic.
Joiner and Ivy add, “Every kid needs a parent who has history, and every kid needs a leader who can discover them now.” My encouragement to you is this: You may wonder what kind of an impact you’re making. You may struggle just to get to church on a Sunday. It may be tempting to skip out on serving because there are other things that look more rewarding, relaxing, or beneficial. Don’t give in to the temptation. Stick with the group of kids you’ve got. Invest in them. Invest what you know about them back to their parents. And see what God does in the midst of your consistency, stability, and faithfulness.