In June 2008 I was speaking at a kids camp. At the time, when I was the senior pastor of a church in Washington State, I drove to Oregon to speak at Camp Crestview. In true fashion, I always bring a couple of containers full of costumes and props for the week. At camper registration time I love to walk around, acting goofy, while welcoming students and their parents.
One mother and son posed with one of those cut-out displays that has a body and YOU provide the head. Pretty funny looking. I saw this unsuspecting duo standing there so I jumped into the picture then slipped away quickly without them noticing.
After camp they had the pictures developed and didn’t think much of it…UNTIL Jennie (the mother) saw the picture come up a year or so later on her computer’s screen saver.
Jennie leaned in closer to the monitor, leaned back, adjusted her gaze, and declared: “That is MY Pastor!”
You see, at that particular kids camp was a large group of students and leaders from West Salem Foursquare Church – the congregation that months later Denise and I would be called to serve.
Unofficially, the first connection I would make with this wonderful church would be through it’s Children’s Ministry leaders and about 80 elementary students. Honestly, I can’t think of a better route to go. This ought to be the pathway into all senior pastorates: through the relational connections with the kids.
To this day I get high-fives and hugs from students that remembered me as their camp speaker that year. So many of our students knew me before their parents did. I love that.
In my opinion, there is no greater service to the Body of Christ than to its young people. There is no greater investment of resources. There is no greater ministry opportunity than to serve children. I know these are bold, and potentially polarizing statements (ie: what about MY ministry, etc. etc), but I believe it.
Kids are at the core of the heart of Jesus. What’s at your core?