On Palm Sunday, as we do every year, we celebrated the Easter season with our junior church class. I prepared a full-fledged lunch and treats the kids always love, and planned a few games and activities.
And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. – Mark 9:36, 37
But because I’ve done similar parties for a number of years now, I didn’t put as much thought into the festivities as I usually do.
As well, I’d had an unusually stressful week; so, on Saturday night I “treated” myself to eating anything I wanted and watching some of my favorite shows, long after everyone else was in bed. All of that felt wonderful at the time.
Not so much the next morning.
I awoke overtired and a bit sick to my stomach. I was too rushed to pray and too headachey to listen to a sermon or Christian music.
So, I left the house unprepared to deal with the unusual rowdiness of my class that day. Though storybooks usually hold them spellbound, the children had no interest in listening to my daughter, Shae, read a beautifully illustrated account of the Resurrection. They weren’t all that interested in the Easter fun facts or silly games that they had enjoyed in the past. They did appreciate all the goodies, but beyond that, they seemed most interested in winding each other up and cheering on one another’s antics than in anything else.
I always try to incorporate a clear gospel message into my class sessions, particularly during Christmas and Easter. But by the end of the party, I realized that I hadn’t had – or hadn’t made – the opportunity to do that, despite the fact that a visitor was attending.
What in the world was wrong with me? And what had happened to my usually sweet group of kids?
Honestly, my lack of preparation was what happened, and Satan or one of his minions could have taken advantage of that as well.
No matter that I’ve been teaching junior church Bible classes for about twenty years – I still need to prepare! “Winging it” won’t bring about the best possible results.
It is only through Christ, prayer, and preparation that I can have any sort of success in ministry. At minimum, success means to me that each child will regularly hear the gospel message in my class, and that by the time each grows out of my class, each one will be saved.
That the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. – John 17:23b
Have you had a harrowing ministry experience? How did you deal with it? What did you learn from it? I’d love to hear your story.