The weekly routine of children’s ministry can be very demanding. It involves many behind the scenes tasks to be completed every week to ensure Sunday mornings run smoothly and effectively, for the children and volunteers. This work can be mundane and feel superfluous, seeming to have no real “Kingdom value.” I will admit that, at times, this was my attitude towards these preparatory tasks.
Every Monday morning, I would come into the church and clean up everything from the classrooms that we had spent the previous week creating and gathering, only to put those often unused supplies back away. Then, I would spend 15-20 hours setting up for the coming Sunday, preparing the supplies for seven Sunday school classes. Often it seemed like a routine with little value. How was all of the time I was spending on cutting, craft preparation, and gathering lesson-teaching props teaching and leading the kids towards Jesus’ love?
I felt frustrated by this question but, when you ask God a question, He reveals an answer. God worked on my heart through a conversation with one of the Sunday school teachers. Through this conversation I gained a greater understanding of volunteer support and appreciation. When the volunteers are able to focus on the message of the lesson they will be teaching, and not worry about the supply preparation, they can better communicate the message and truths of the Gospel to the kids. This is a very tangible Kingdom value.
This process of learning to love the mundane, routine aspect of children’s ministry really helped to grow me as a ministering person. Spending upwards of five hours on cutting craft supplies each week provides a lot of time for reflection. During this reflecting time, I felt that God was working on my heart. Learning that God is at work even in these simple tasks, and that I can bless people through this time really helped to shift my attitude towards this “thankless” work. I now use this time to intentionally listen to God and have real back and forth conversations with Him. It has taught me to better appreciate these opportunities in my week and to view them in a different light—a God-centred light. Through my Pathways field education experience, God has been showing me the value that can be found in the most routine of tasks.
So often it is easy to get emotionally swept up in the idea of big picture ministry. It is sometimes easy to romanticize the front-line work that may turn others towards Jesus, that helps vulnerable and hurting people, as the only work of value. God has been working on my heart to teach me to love even the mundane, routine, and continual moments of ministry because each of these moments are moments spent with Him.
Josie McCallum is a ministry intern at Owen Sound Alliance Church in Ontario and an undergraduate student of Pathways School of Ministry. Josie’s ministry passion is to serve children and their families, teaching them how much they are loved by Jesus. She enjoys creative writing, as well as, playing and writing music with her husband Joel.