I’ve never done this before, but I went to post a comment on Commander Bill’s wonderful article yesterday called “Lessons from the Lawn,” and the comment got so long that I decided to post it as a follow up to Bill’s original article. Yesterday Bill drew three great lessons from comparing taking care of his yard and doing children’s ministry. It got my mind racing, and I came up with so many other similarities that I though I would post them here. Hopefully my wife will miss this post because the idea of me writing about lawn care is likely to set her on a path of uproarious laughter. Nonetheless, it struck me that there are other similarities. Like…
1) No matter how well you treat your lawn, there is always going to be a patch or two that require a little extra attention. You care for and fertilize the whole thing, but you spend a little extra time with those two patches that aren’t doing so well. You plant extra seed, you water it regularly, and you do what you can to make sure those patches catch up with the rest of the yard. So, are those rough patches your ministry kids or volunteers? And, what are you doing to help them grow?
2) A nice lawn takes dedication. If you leave it alone for a couple of weeks during the summer it turn brown. If you don’t fertilize, the weeds will overtake it. Ministry is not something that you can do intermittently or “when you get around to it.”’ It has to be a priority. This is true whether you are in full time ministry, bi-vocational, or a volunteer. It is true whether you teach the Kids’ Church on Sunday, run a small group, or assist in the preparation of crafts. No matter your role, kidmin takes dedication and perseverance.
3) Barriers are important. I live out in the country. I also live in Ohio which is a rather flat place to live. The wind blows across the flat land and can wreak havoc on a yard. I found a gutter in my yard one morning after a particularly bad wind storm. Many people plant a row of trees at the edge of their yard as a barrier against the storms. What barriers have you planted around your ministry to protect your kids from the inevitable storms?
4) A finely manicured yard that is not utilized is a waste. It may garner accolades from your neighbors and such, but your kids will languish inside with nowhere to run and play. Likewise, a finely manicured ministry that does not allow kids to express themselves and have fun does not honor God. Your ministry should be a place where kids run and explore (both figuratively and literally). It should be a place where they engage God in terms they understand. If you have all the fancy gadgets but aren’t reaching kids for God, your ministry may look pretty but it is ultimately empty.
5) An over-watered lawn is as bad as an under-watered lawn. Don’t water and cultivate what you’ve planted and it will die. Water it too much and it will drown. If the sole purpose of your ministry is to drown kids in biblical facts and trivia, you will miss the soul purpose of your ministry which is to win them to Christ and teach them to follow him.
6) The best yards have more than one kind of grass. Have you ever noticed on a bag a grass seed that most of them are made up of a mixture of grass seeds? Some are mixtures of Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue and Ryegrass. Others mix other types of seed. They do this because each type of grass grows differently and offers something unique to the yard. Together though, they combine to make up a seamless and beautiful yard. Our ministries should be much the same. We should encourage diversity and bring together volunteers and kids from all different walks of life and families. In doing so, we give kids a picture of what heaven will be like. By combining all kinds of different “seeds,” we produce the most beautiful mixture imaginable.
7) The worse thing I ever had to contend with in my yard were thistles. One popped up in my yard on a Sunday afternoon. I cut it down, but I didn’t take care of the roots. Those suckers grow underground into enormous plants and are seemingly invincible against common garden products. Had I dug the root out early, I would have avoided a massive problem. I left the root to grow, and it very quickly took over the entire yard. So, what is the correlation to ministry? A little sin left unrepented of in your life can take over, and eventually kill your entire ministry.
I told you it got my creative juices flowing. Thanks Bill! Make sure to check out Bill’s original article here!