We, as leaders in kids ministry, have a huge challenge before us. Most studies show that more than 50% of students in KidsMin walk away from their faith in college. The main reason for this is that teenagers have a pseudo, immature, green, borrowed and even fragile faith. Why? There are many reasons: having to learn more in life; not experienced enough; being very young. Their faith is, to some degree, unchallenged! Just like the young baseball player who can scoop up every ground ball hit to him. He has trained, he has practiced, and he has overcome what has been set before him…..except one thing. He has never played in a game before!!! So when he makes an error and allows the ball to go right between his legs on a routine ground ball because a base runner was right in front of him when he tried to field that ball, we can say it was because he was never challenged with “live game action”. He then comes to the bench and complains it wasn’t fair and he quits!!!
What is the solution then? We want to walk along side kids and help them have a stronger faith then, right? In other words, we want to help them develop an authentic faith for themselves, one that is led by the Holy Spirit. It would probably look like what Paul was describing to Timothy in 1 Tim 1:18-19. We are after this type of a generation! They will be rooted in Scripture, hold onto their faith, have a strong conscience, and know God personally. We desire for them to trust in God and not just for a moment in their life (such as at VBS, Beulah Beach, or KOG/GOG).
Our vision is for each child to have a really BIG faith – an authentic faith. And a great way to cultivate authentic faith is through leading SMALL.
Leading small? Wait, I thought you just said to have a big faith….? Well, we have a huge challenge, but it needs to start small. We have a big ministry, but many little souls are at stake here! What if the biggest things we accomplish are by doing something small? There is great power in leading small. When we lead small, we realize that what we do for a few may have more potential than what we do for many.
When we lead small, we simply make a choice to invest strategically in the lives of a few over time so we can help them build an authentic faith! We lead small in small groups, teaching in the classroom with a smaller group of kids, or in larger groups by dividing them into small groups for discussion and prayer time.
A few weeks ago I was teaching 5th grade and was being vulnerable in the mistakes I made as a younger guy. I shared the story of stealing pumpkins when I was in High School (my kids love to hear stories of when I mess up, by the way!!). Wow, this had a huge impact on them! They opened up and began to ask tons of questions about that event. I engaged them with this story of my young adult life! I then was able to share my faith with them and inspired them to live differently. May God transform them from this opportunity I had to LEAD SMALL!
When you are leading your small group this week or teaching your class, remember that we lead small in order to build authentic faith.