“…some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.’”
Being in children’s ministry for several years means that I have heard this passage out of Matthew 19 one-hundred times, if not more. It is one of those verses commonly used to remind volunteers that wiping someone else’s kid’s nose early on a Sunday morning is more than just… well, wiping someone else’s kid’s nose early on a Sunday morning. Recently, I was assigned to share my vision regarding the direction of this year within the children’s ministry, so I asked God to highlight something to me in His word that would give a clear direction for my team. Needless to say, I was slightly unimpressed when this passage rang in my heart. However, God’s word is alive, and He was faithful to breath new life on the verses for me. And do not hinder them from coming to me. Woah. I remember countless times rehearsing “the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these,” but this was the first time the command of “do not hinder” jumped out at me. This was not a mere suggestion; Jesus commanded that the disciples to step out of the way and ensure that the path to His presence was wide open and unhindered for the those He called owners of the Kingdom. Sharing the gospel and the love of Jesus massively important, but neither can be our only goal in children’s ministry; we are also commissioned to remove obstacles in order for kids to enter into God’s presence. How do we accomplish this? We lead children into Jesus’ presence when we value them and see them the way Jesus does, and we remove hindrances by believing that children are called to be Kingdom owners. In order to see this command through, the staff and volunteers of NCC children’s ministry will faithfully pray over your kids, will honor the positions we serve, will ensure that every child feels seen and valued, will consistently pursue improved procedures of safety, will teach the Word in earnesty, and will joyfully wipe your kids’ noses. We believe in the weight of Jesus’ command. Removing hindrances is my vision for NCC children’s ministry, so that every child can become the Kingdom owner he, or she was designed to be.
- Elise Puckett (Children’s Director)