I jumped into blogging about preteen ministry and my role as preteen pastor, but I really wanted to share how God gripped my heart for this age group.
I love ministry. I understood God’s call ever since the age of 16, and I realize that he was preparing me even long before that. God led me through a series of events that made it clear my role would be in children’s ministry. I did my best to serve Him in that role for 8 years, and then something happened.
I began to feel a passion being fueled by God. As Bill Hybels calls it, I had a “Holy Discontent.” Hybels, in his book titled Holy Discontent, describes it as the one thing in the world that when you see, hear, feel, or even come close to. It is that one thing that you can’t stand to leave alone, and every part of you burns to make a change. I knew that I was feeling something, but just could not label it. I discovered that the thing for me was how churches minister to preteens. And I learned it in a very unique moment.
While serving in a children’s pastor role that had responsibilities for birth through 5th Grade, I had a defining experience. One Sunday, two 5th grade boys approached me and asked to have a meeting. I had no idea what it was for, but I was definitely game. So Elliott, Wyatt, and I scheduled a meeting for that week at the lunch buffet of Pizza Hut.
I talked with one of their parents about the meeting, and I learned where the conversation had started. On the way home from church a few Sundays prior, the boys had made several comments about how church wasn’t exciting. They enjoyed their small groups, they enjoyed what they were learning, and they enjoyed the worship time. But their comments centered on the idea that there should be something more. The parent did an amazing job of listening and continuing the conversation. She prompted to bring their ideas to me and see what we could do.
So, back to the lunch buffet at Pizza Hut. It was amazing to sit across the booth from two 5th grade boys and listen to them lay out a ministry strategy. They talked about their interest in serving. They talked about how they were ready and willing to put into practice all that they knew and were learning. They didn’t want to just sit back and listen. They wanted to do! They had ideas to form teams that would serve in various capacities. They had ideas for how to do sign-ups, how to do training, and how to show appreciation to those that serve.
I’ve sat across the table from some amazing men of God that serve in very successful ministries. I’ve read books and attended conferences with some of the most successful business and ministry leaders of our time. But, I’ve never been as impressed as I was when I spoke with Wyatt and Elliott. They took what God was laying on their hearts and made a strategy for action. They went through all the steps to make sure that we took that action.
Through that conversation we created the “Work Crew.” These 5th graders served every Sunday in different roles around to church. They served as greeters and gave tours to new families. They served on the tech team for our elementary worship time. They assisted small group leaders or the storyteller during our large group teaching. It was amazing to watch the group grow together by serving the body of Christ.
This was an amazing win for our church. It was also a defining moment for me. I had realized where God was leading me. He was leading me to make change for the way churches equip and unleash kids ages 9 to 12.
That is really how God led me to preteen ministry. He stirred my heart in a meeting with Wyatt and Elliott at the lunch buffet of Pizza Hut.
What is your “Holy Discontent”?
What is the one thing that you burn to see changed in your lifetime?
What has God called you to? How did He call you?