It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men
- Frederick Douglas 
Our Sunday morning "Valley Chapel Kidz" program needs help. We have a lot of kids excited to learn about Jesus, but our volunteers are few. Now, if you started reading this, please keep reading. There will be an invitation for you to volunteer with Valley Chapel Kidz at the end of this blog post, but before you decide that Kidz ministry isn't for you, please hear me out. Thanks!
The other day I was talking with a dad whose son came home from church one day and asked "Dad, what is God?" To me that's such an exciting question to get, it's an opportunity to talk to my kid about God, but it's easy for me to forget my privileges of a seminary education and a lifetime in the church. For the Dad, this question was intimidating. It's not that he didn't know about God, he's a great father and an intelligent follower of Jesus. It's that he didn't feel like he knew how to talk about God on his son's level. 
I have a hunch that a lot of parents feel the same way, wanting our kids to know about God, but feeling intimidated by trying to talk about faith with them. I get it, kids have a knack for asking the exact questions we've been avoiding. They have this natural curiosity that can feel borderline threatening. And then, big, emotional things in life happen, the sudden loss of a loved one, the death of a pet, illness, moving, divorce, a global pandemic, and we find ourselves in water way over our heads. 
And then someone comes up to us at church and asks us to help in the Children's wing.

"Ha! I don't even feel like I can lead my own kids in faith let alone other people's kids!"

So we respectfully say no and thank the volunteers who are willing to serve during the service on Sundays. 
I get it. Raising kids to know an infinite and eternal God who is beyond human comprehension is an intimidating task, but like Frederick Douglas once said, "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." I would like to piggyback a bit further on that myself, to say not only is it easier to build strong children but it's also a lot more fun and requires far fewer answers than you may think. But, it does require something of us and I believe that by serving with Valley Chapel Kidz, we can each develop one of the most valuable habits in parenting and life in general.
When my daughter was born I literally had no idea how to do anything with a baby. I had never changed a diaper, never fed a baby from a bottle, never swaddled an infant, never dressed an infant, never used a car seat, never driven with a baby in the car, and the list goes on. I had to learn EVERYTHING. But you know, today I look at my part in parenting my daughter and I feel confident to say that I am a pretty good dad. What got me to this point was not knowing what I was doing going into it, and what you need in order to serve our children is not certainty and a bucket-load of theological skills.

It's a simple habit that we can all practice. It's just curiosity.
A good parent or caregiver, much like a good Children's ministry volunteer, is not made by what we know. In fact, what we are certain of will often get in the way of good parenting. It's our willingness to say "I don't know, let's try and find the answer together" that helps us raise kids well. When my mother was learning to care for my father with Alzheimer's she was actually taught by an improv comedian. In improv, the core rule is "Yes, and...". You always respond to someone's idea with yes, and then you add more to it, you allow yourself to enter into the imaginary world they created rather than demanding that they join you in yours.

When caring for a dementia patient, that looks like telling a story multiple times, or saying, "woah! that is a funny monkey in your closet" (despite knowing full well it's just a t-shirt with a picture of a dog). With Kids, it's about letting them lead too. When a young girl asks "Do snails go to heaven?" instead of looking for an accurate theological answer, you can say "I don't know, what do you think?" (even if you think you already know) or "Let's look for the answer together!" (even if you don't know where to find it).

See, anyone can do that!
So here is my ask... Would you give it a try? 
Would you commit to giving the Valley Chapel Kidz Ministry a try? We are hoping to fill a few key positions, and please be in prayer that God will provide volunteers for them, but you don't need to make a commitment long-term right away. I am only asking that you try it out once or twice to see if it's for you.
If you are committing to pray with us, then we are specifically asking God to provide us with at least 3 teachers and 3 helpers who can volunteer once a month.
- Teachers serve by leading the group through pre-built lessons created to teach the kids on their level.
- Helpers serve by distributing snacks, helping with check-in, crafts, games, and other activities.

 For the safety of our kiddos, everyone completes a simple background check before serving. We are committed to a safe environment that cultivates trust with parents who leave their kids with us. Then the volunteers will show you the ropes and welcome you into the space. You will get to have fun with the kiddos, pray with them, and learn lessons right along with them. 

Ryan Rovito

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