Dear Children’s Ministry Leader, on this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for you.
Thank you for taking care of the 1,000 little details during the week that make weekends, programs and events run smoothly. Most people don’t know how hard you work. But you and I know that weekend services, events and programs don’t happen magically. It takes a lot of work. Thank you for going the second mile week in and week out to make it happen.
Thank you for looking beyond yourself and focusing on the next generation. I know children’s ministry doesn’t always get the attention, recognition, budget and promotion that other ministries do. But thank you for not letting that stop you from serving the least of these. You and I know that the least of these will one day do the most for the kingdom. And you are preparing them for that day. You are investing in leaders who will lead strong in God’s kingdom long after you are gone.
Thank you for loving. Loving children. Loving parents. Loving grandparents. Loving volunteers. Loving students. Your heart is synced with the heart of Jesus.
Thank you for not giving up. For continuing when you aren’t appreciated. For continuing when you are misunderstood. For continuing when you make mistakes. For continuing when the pay is little to none. For continuing when you are discouraged. For continuing when the needs are great, but the budget is small. For continuing when you are short on help. For continuing when someone you’ve poured yourself into walks away. For continuing when your motives are questioned. For continuing when the kids don’t want to listen and seem to do the opposite of what you’ve taught them. For continuing when people resist the change you know is so desperately needed. Thank you for fighting on…for keeping your faith…for staying on course.
Thank you for loving the kid that everyone else is down on. Thank you for looking beyond what he appears to be and seeing what he can be. Thank you for believing in him when no one else does. Thank you for not turning your back on him when he disrupts your lessons and acts out the turmoil he is experiencing outside of church. Thank you for looking beyond the symptoms and doing everything you can to help him overcome the cause of his actions.
Thank you for embracing the messiness of ministry. You didn’t know it would be this messy when you started. But now you know…because you’re right in the middle of it. Thank you for embracing families who are dysfunctional. Thank you for walking toward messy conversations rather than avoiding them. Thank you for being the friend of sinners. Thank you for reaching out to kids and families that no one else wants to embrace because of the time and attention that will be required to help them out of the mess they have gotten themselves into. Thank you joining Jesus in the mess.
Thank you for being a good shepherd. Thank you for the prayers you’ve prayed for volunteers who are going through a difficult time. Thank you for helping hold up a mother and father who have lost a child. Thank you for the hospital visits…for the minor ones like “tonsils out” to the major ones like someone who is battling cancer. Thank you for gathering some people with you to help a single mom who needed help moving. When you got into children’s ministry, you didn’t realize that you would become a shepherd to the kids, parents and volunteers. But now you are. Thanks for shepherding well.
Thank you for who you are. A servant. A friend. A counselor. A prayer warrior. A protector of children. An encourager. A dreamer. A planner. An organizer. An innovator. A mentor. A role model. A vision caster. A communicator. A motivator. You are all this and more.
I thank God for you, my friend. Your best days of ministry are ahead. You are anointed and appointed by God for such a time as this. You are going to be amazed by what God is going to do in you and through you over the next few years.
God keeps great records and great is your reward in heaven. One day you will see the totality of what God has done through your life and it will be worth everything you have given of yourself to reach and disciple kids and families.
Have a great Thanksgiving! You are loved! I thank God for you!
This article originally appeared here.