When I was in my first year of full-time children’s ministry kids camp was a new experience for me… especially when it came time for lunch. It was very kid-centric fare featuring hamburgers, hotdogs, cold mac-n-cheese and applesauce and the like. The best part were the kid-sized portions they gave even to the famished adults. I can’t wait to tell Paul the Apostle how I suffered for Christ.
The servers were volunteers, so I made sure to be polite to them. They were serving exactly how they’d been instructed after all. I noticed that to make eye contact I was having to either stand on tip-toe or hunch down to see past a home built sneeze guard over the serving line. Every day I got a little more annoyed at this small inconvenience. I thought, Why don’t they hang this thing about two inches higher so we can see through it! Doesn’t anyone believe in excellence anymore? I know this seems ridicules… and it was… but stinky boys, unrelenting heat and little food make for an easily irritated man.
One one particular day near the end of camp as I went through the line, I noticed the kids around me getting their food. Many of them would look up and thank their server as I had done… but without ducking or toeing up. I ducked down low to their level and looked up at the servers. I had a perfect view of every face. Then it hit me…
This thing wasn’t hung for me… it was hung for them.
This became one of my core values immediately. Everything in my ministry had to be passed through that filter. To this day whenever I do anything, like set design) I will go and sit low in a chair in each major section to make sure every child can see. I don’t use cursive fonts because lower elementary can’t read them yet. I keep the lights bright in my chapel because some kids are leery of dark places… especially first time visitors.
Here are some questions I constantly ask myself:
1. Will they understand it?
2. Can they see it?
3. Are they scared of it?
4. Can they apply it?
5. Is it too long for them to pay attention?
6. Could they repeat it? Re-teach it?
7. Are they being bad, or being their age?
8. Will they get it?
9. Will they want it?
10. Will they remember it?