In October, we’ll be posting a series of posts dedicated specifically to our volunteers. While the post below is dedicated to our volunteers, I hope both parents and volunteers can read and enjoy the series, including this post.
Long before I began my position, I was a volunteer in Crossing Kids. I spent the bulk of my volunteer ministry in the walkers room, bouncing one year olds, singing the fishy song (if you don’t know the fishy song, just ask a volunteer in the walkers or twos room—they all know it by heart) and changing lots and lots and lots of diapers. So after serving for several years, when I was asked to attend a training, I was a little skeptical. I mean, I was just hanging out with babies for an hour. What in the world were you going to teach me? How to pass out snacks? I may have been a little naive.
When I arrived on that morning years ago, the speaker’s topic was entitled, “Not Just a Babysitter” and it’s exactly what I needed to hear. I mean, after several Sundays of the “unified wail” our classrooms can have on their bad days, it’s hard to remember you’re doing more than just chaos control. But that morning, she spoke of the profound impact a volunteer can have on a little one’s life. She reminded me that, yes, we will wipe noses. That’s part of a typical day with 20 one-year-olds in your classroom. BUT you are doing so much more…you are ministering to children and families. You are not a baby-sitter. You are a kingdom worker. Kids may hear the gospel for the very first time in your room. Or…parents may hear it for the very first time while you love their kids.
Some of you may know that Crossing Kids staff recently attended a ministry conference. One of the sessions I attended was about this exact topic. There are two mentalities we can have as volunteers. We can be “babysitters.” We can plug holes, make sure no one sticks their hand in a door, and pass out snack at just the right time. Yes, our kids will be safe. Yes, they will leave with a lesson and a take home sheet. And we’ll clock out and do it again in two weeks. It’s possible. We could do this for years. And kids might get the gospel. And parents might get to go to church. But this isn’t what we hope you get from volunteering in Crossing Kids.
I hope, whether you are serving in the crawlers room or in the third grade, you see yourself as a part of a ministry. You are not a babysitter! You are not just a volunteer! You are a part of the body of Christ and just as 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 explains, we are each gifted in different ways.
Tying shoes? Kingdom work.
Singing a baby one more song in hopes this will be the one where she falls asleep? The hands and the feet of Jesus at work.
Getting down on the ground to put a puzzle together with some 3-year-olds? The body in action.
I want each of you to know that you are not a hole-filler. We couldn’t do ministry without you. I don’t mean without you as a group. Yes, that’s true. But I mean you—the one reading this right now. God is using your specific gifts, talents, and abilities to minister to children and families in our church. So, if you don’t know what this looks like yet for you, take a few minutes and do some soul-searching.
Just like each child is unique, each volunteer has different ways he or she connects with kids. Were you the quiet kid in school? Find the loner and buddy up. Talk to her about her favorite activity.
Were you the kid who always had tons of energy and was always getting in trouble? Spend a little time with that kid. Maybe do something that burns some energy together. Or just talk about Jesus together while you build towers and knock them down. But get excited about it—and do it with love.
Are you the baby whisperer? Babies just seem to melt when you hold them and are immediately comforted? Take joy knowing that a mom gets to go to church while her son or daughter is being loved and protected. Pray aloud over that baby. And sing some hymns if you know any. They don’t care about your singing voice. It’s amazing but kids get snippets of things at such an early age. Your love won’t be wasted.
Whatever your gifts and talents are, they aren’t small. You. Specifically. You are the body of Christ in Crossing Kids. You are a minister. You have a ministry here. That’s no small feat.
Thank you for sharing your ministry with our ministry. We love you!