“How do I know Jesus loves me?” one of our four year olds recently asked his teacher. How indeed is a child supposed to know that and trust it to be true?
Most people who become Christians and become involved in the church, made those decisions as young children. I don’t know about you, but church was always my favorite place growing up. I thrived at school and felt loved at home, but something special happened when I was at church. I have fond memories all the way back to my kindergarten class and teachers- Mrs. Massey, Mrs. Bellamy. These wonderful volunteers greeted me at the door, took my offering envelope, praised me for remembering to bring my Bible, then guided me to one of many interesting activities related to the day’s Bible story. I felt loved, cared for, prepared for, and wanted, each time I came. And believe me, I was there a lot.
I heard about Jesus over and over. I saw the love of Jesus being played out in the lives of these adults who invested their time in me, and seemed to care about others in their neighborhoods and around the world. Children learn by repetition. They learn by observing. They learn by doing.
As soon as I was old enough, I began to serve in various areas of the church. While in the junior department (remember that term for grades 4-6?), I played the piano for opening assembly many weeks. Thankfully, hymns were my specialty. Then in seventh grade, I was scooped up for VBS! 2 whole weeks of church for 3 hours daily. I was in heaven! Before you knew it, the adults who were working in the kindergarten extended session class at 11:00 handed over the responsibility of preparing the lesson, leading the music time and guiding the children for this hour to me, and my best friend, Trish. Little did I know what God was preparing me for at the time.
I was in love! In love with church, with preschoolers, with Jesus. These experiences, as well as my Christian home environment, made me sensitive to the call of God in my life. At the age of 13, I knew that God had a plan for me to serve him vocationally. I had no idea what that meant (at that time, I had never heard of a children’s minister) but I knew that to be happy and satisfied, I would need to follow that call.
Those teachers, the choir director, the Godly friends of my parents, all showed me the love of Jesus. They showed, and taught, and helped me memorize the verses and promises that I continue to claim. The abstract idea of Jesus loving me was brought to life through the lives of these adult volunteers who showed me Jesus. I would guess that most of them would think that it was worth it if I had been the only one of hundreds they taught who gave her life to Christ. But there were many, many, more. Several of which in our youth group went on to seminary and full time ministry.
Maybe your iMAGiNEXT! is sharing a little of Jesus’ love to some smaller people. Show them Jesus. They are looking, they are wondering how to find that love and why it should matter to them. Help them to make that discovery so that one day they also will have an iMAGiNEXT! experience.
Johns Creek Baptist Church
In preparation for the Mobilization Fair, take some time to browse the numerous ways you can join the Mission of God, by clicking here. If you would like to participate in the iMAGiNEXT! guided thinking tool on our website, click here.