This will make you laugh … It was the Fudgsicle.
My parents weren’t Christians, so when the youth workers at church took an interest in me, it changed my life. I grew up with a desire to do just that for the next generation. I was always a homemaker and served wherever there were kids. Church, schools and other organizations – I always volunteered because I love little people. That’s why I took the children’s minister position 12 years ago at North Central Christian Church in Indianapolis. I’m 70 now – here to tell you that I’ve learned some things.
This isn’t about me. I want to share this advice because I’ve seen a lot of years of ministry and truly believe we’re all in this together to reach all the little people.
1. Equip and encourage each other.
You don’t take this journey without your fellow youth workers – people with a heart for kids and the ability to see the Kingdom through their little eyes. Pass on your knowledge to others and don’t miss out on chances to encourage one another. Your volunteers are your greatest resources, so don’t discredit them if they show you a heart for Kingdom work.
2. Continue the course.
Youth ministry is hard. For me, obstacles look like budgets and expense reports – but God has blessed me along the whole journey with people who have helped me. That’s why it’s so important to encourage one another, but it’s also worth repeating – Don’t. Give. Up.
3. Get outside the building.
Find ways to reach out to your community and serve where there’s a need. The Lord uses absolutely anything – even Fudgsicles – to capture attention and change lives. I encourage you to ask your kids where they see needs ... I guarantee it’ll be outside the church building. Serve and see the Kingdom through the eyes of your kids.
4. Let CIY join your ministry.
Our church sends kids to CIY events because this organization nails it. I love all of the different aspects of these programs, but the junior high event – Believe – is my favorite. The service, the worship, the conversations – every moment serves a kid’s need in their spiritual formation. Make sure to get your sleep because: Kids. Are. Wired. They’re wired for worship. They’re wired for the lessons. They get it. The speakers are amazing and fun, but you can tell the messages are Holy Spirit-led … And the best part is that it doesn’t stop there.
5. Buy the curriculum.
Yes, it’s worth it. CIY has amazing follow-up curriculum that I’ve used to guide our kids to more moments when they stepped closer to Jesus. Get the curriculum and do it. Use these conversations to ask the kids what they’re going to do with what they just experienced. Tap into their spiritual dreams and help them accomplish them, because kids aren’t just the future – they’re also the right now. They can make things happen in the church and impact adults.
My prayer for the Church has been – and will always be – for the willingness to risk everything like David’s mighty warriors. The mission should always be to put Him first.
Kathy Litzkow, 70, is retiring from the children’s pastor position with North Central Christian Church in Indianapolis after 12 years. Her service surpassed the responsibilities this role required – connecting the Nora community with the local church in numerous, various ways. Her church and CIY thanks Kathy for her dedication and love for all of her “little people.”