One of the things we as pastors are uniquely positioned to do is pray for the kids and volunteers in our church.
If you think about it, other than kids’ parents, there probably are not a whole lot of adults specifically praying for kids.
And as far as your volunteers, you may be the only person intentionally praying for them on a consistent basis.
I’d never really thought about this until recently.
Over the past three years, I’ve texted little happy birthday videos to parents for them to share with their kids as well as to volunteers; I’ve even blogged about this idea.
It was a simple way to show parents, kids and volunteers I cared about them in a personalized way.
Then a few weeks ago as I was recording the videos for February, the Holy Spirit gently said, “Don’t just wish these kids and volunteers a Happy Birthday, also pray for them.”
It was one of those moments where I realized God was speaking something to me that I should have been doing all along.
I repented and then set about re-recording the videos with prayers.
Two things have been super cool about this: 1) I get to spend time asking God what He wants me to specifically pray over a kid or volunteer for the year ahead and 2) kids, parents and volunteers have shared how meaningful it is to them.
With that said, here’s the nuts and bolts of how to actually do this (if you have an Android phone or your church uses an online texting software that can schedule texts, it’s going to be about 10x easier).
Step 1: Get a birthday list of your kids and volunteers organized by date.
If you use an online church management system, this should be as simple as downloading and printing.
We use Church Community Builder and they have a report you can run for birthdays in a given month, which is what I do.
If you don’t have kids’ or volunteers’ birthdays written down anywhere, then begin by getting that information gathered.
Step 2: Ask Jesus if he has a specific word.
Before I record each happy birthday video, I’ll pause for a minute or two to ask what God wants me to pray.
Sometimes there will be something specific the Holy Spirit brings to my mind, and sometimes I’m led to pray more generally for continued maturity, thankfulness and/or blessing.
Step 3: Record the videos.
The videos we create are 20 seconds or less for the simple reason that 20 seconds is the longest I can send through my phone’s texting app.
I’ll start by wishing the kid or volunteer a happy birthday and then letting them know I want to pray over the next year.
If you have an Android phone, use the texting app Textra to record the videos.
Also include a short note with the video along the lines of: “I recorded a Happy Birthday prayer for [kid’s name].”
If your church has a group texting system they use, then copy and paste a share link from the video on your phone.
If you have an iPhone, there are two options: 1) Record and send the day of a kid’s or volunteer’s birthday or 2) choose one day out of the month to record and send all the videos, letting parents and volunteers know that your’re praying over them because they have a birthday in [blank] month.
Step 4: Schedule the videos to send (only for Android or Church Texting System).
For Android, you can also schedule the text in Textra.
For a Church Texting System, you would have to check with whoever administers it.
I normally schedule the texts to send at 7:30 a.m. if it’s a school day; otherwise, I’ll do 9:00 a.m.
iPhones do not allow texts to be scheduled.
Application: What would be the best system to think through in experimenting with this: Android, Group Church Texting, iPhone (batch send on one day)?
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This article originally appeared here.