Twelve years ago, when my husband and I came to live in the United States, we were invited to go salmon fishing on a lake. That sounded like fun. I would sunbathe comfortably on the deck while my sons caught fish. I would sip a cool drink while the boat was anchored. I would put my feet up while the waves rippled gently around me. Nothing could have been further from the truth. This was Lake Michigan. This was eight miles out. This was big wave territory. And this was deep water. I never did get to sunbathe. I never did get to sip that cool drink. I never did get to put my feet up. But I did catch salmon.
There is something scary about deep water. It may not always be a comfortable place…but deep water is where the big fish are.
In Chapter 5 of Luke’s gospel, Jesus says to Simon, “ Push out into deep water and let your nets down for a catch.” Simon obeys, and their nets are so full that they need extra help to pull them in. When Simon is overwhelmed by the presence of Jesus, and the enormity of what just took place, Jesus says to him, ’Do not be afraid. From now on, you will be catching people.” It reminds me why I signed up for children’s ministry in the first place. I wanted to catch as many children as I could, and bring them to Jesus. I still do. But I sometimes wonder if I’m paddling around in the shallow end, rather than taking that plunge into the deep. Is God calling you to deeper waters?
As we approach the end of another school year, it’s a great time to reassess our children’s ministry, to ask ourselves hard questions, and to be honest about the answers.
What worked well for us this year? What did not? What area of ministry needs to go? What area of ministry needs to be added? If I came to my church with my children, as a first time visitor, would I return? What impact are we having in the community around us?
Friends…Jesus asks us to push out into deep water, and let down our nets for a catch. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our nets were so full that we needed extra help to pull them in? Jesus tells us “Do not be afraid”. Are you ready to surf, rather than be safe? Are you ready to catch salmon, rather than shrimp? After all, we’ll be able to paddle around and sip those cool drinks all day long when we’re in heaven. Until we get there, there’s no such thing as being in too deep.
What hard questions are you asking as you reflect on the past year in children’s ministry?