“Be Not Many Masters”

ad_2009_cm_cmes_small_blogOur children’s ministry needs help. Maybe you’ve noticed. Perhaps at one time or another the nursery worker forgot to change your child’s diaper. Maybe your toddler’s toy was stolen and the teacher didn’t address the situation properly. Or maybe you wish we made Sunday School more interesting for your energetic pre-teen.

If only we could do a better job of feedings babies, changing diapers, wiping noses–wiping tears–and watching kids, the rest of the church could get on a lot better with the real worship and work of the ministry. Right?

Unfortunately, we all too often look at children’s ministry as a tool for member care and church growth (at best) or a necessary burden (at worst). In our normal thinking, if we all do our part and carry a piece of the load, it won’t be so bad. We can manage.

Can I politely suggest that this view of children’s ministry may place you in the uncomfortable position of incurring the judgment of God? James 3:1 says, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”

This verse bears explaining. James is exhorting his readers to enter the role of teaching (read: “masters”) with utmost sobriety, realizing that teachers are scrutinized more closely than those learning from them.

Indeed, those who teach have more influence. When they teach well, the fruits of righteousness multiply. When they teach (by word or example) unfaithfully, the results can be disastrous and widespread.

While this verse applies primarily to preaching pastors, the principle carries over onto all those who fill a teaching role in the church. As I understand the nature of the church, it is the responsibility of all of us to teach the next generation what it means to know, love, fear, and trust the God of the universe.

Whether you preach in churchtime or merely pass a child in the hall, you are a teacher: you are teaching something with your life. And you shouldn’t take it lightly. As Jesus said, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

Let me invite you to join us for our Children’s Ministry Enrichment Seminar, …Not Many Masters, on Saturday, September 12 (9 am to noon). We’ll be exploring how we can best use the valuable stewardship we have in our church’s children, so that when we stand before the righteous Judge, He’ll say, “well done.”

And yes…we’ll have childcare!

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