I love being married to a youth pastor. It makes our schedule a little crazy and we eat way too much pizza but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. One of my favorite things about it is that I get to see the big picture of spiritual development in a child’s life from preschool to high school graduation. (And it’s awesome.)
Since I work primarily with kids in preschool-elementary but then also serve as a volunteer with the youth, I get to see how what we do in preschool affects elementary, which affects middle school, which affects high school and beyond.
Just this summer included leading worship at VBS, serving with high schoolers in Chicago, worshiping with students at the beach, and watching middle schoolers experience their first mission trip. In just these 6 weeks, I got to see a beautiful overview of spiritual development from the youngest age up to the incoming college freshman, and I was reminded again how important it is to have a big picture mindset in ministry.
Rocking babies helps them feel safe so when they become preteens with questions and doubts, they already know the church is a safe place to express those questions and doubts.
Teaching elementary schoolers the overarching story within the Bible helps them better process how they fit into that story themselves when they are in high school and searching for their place in this world.
Giving young kids the opportunity to serve helps them discern their gifts and passions that God can develop as they grow and pursue careers.
Understanding this big picture approach to ministry and looking for how God is working in the life of a child both long term and short term helps us foster faith that lasts.
So as a kidmin leader, do you have a big picture mindset? How does what you do in the preschool set kids up for success in the elementary class? How does your elementary programming prepare kids for the youth group? Do you and the youth pastor work together to dream and plan your ministries so there is continuity throughout a child’s development?
While the small details matter and those crafts still need prep-cutting, take time each year to evaluate (and celebrate) the part you play in the big picture of a child’s development.