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45+ and counting

AAAAAAhhhhh! Today was my today to lead the lesson for children’s church. It’s usually the 4 and 5 year olds in one class taught by one person, and the 6 year olds in another room with a second teacher. Now that schools back in session, we’ve got more kids than usual as parent’s are back the mind set for school and church. Well……we only had one teacher today….me!

So instead of a larger class of around 20….I had 41 to start with. AAAAAhhhh! Then of course you can count on a few stragglers, to arrive late so we ended up 46 or so. I stopped counting after 45.

A few months ago I started volunteering to help as an ‘extra’ Children’s Church assistant. They always had two teachers in each room, to manage how ever many kids showed to be taught. So after a few weeks of me consistently helping, the teachers thanked me for all my help. I didn’t think I was really helping. After all I was only there to ease my son into the program. It wasn’t like I was in front of 20 kids ‘teaching’ and striving to keep there attention. I wasn’t do anything more than helping clean up or help the little ones with whatever needs would arise.

The couple that I ended up assisting the most just took over the Childrens’ Ministry department. They went from teachers to heading up the entire program. One afternoon after class the husband pulled me aside and said, “You’ve have no idea how much you help.”

Again I said to him that I didn’t feel that I was really helping that much. After all I was just there to assist ‘if needed’. When kids threaten to bite, I sit next to them until they stop their behavior. Then they learn that it won’t be accepted. When they need to go to the bathroom, I point them to the stall in the room and make sure they wash their hands. I’ve always felt that I don’t do much.

He told me that he didn’t know the model of a couple or two people teaching the class was broken until I started helping every week. He told me that they could actually teach and get the class involved, when I was there to maintain the rest. I had no idea how much impact it made, and thanked him. Now that he’s the head of the program, his new model for children’s church to enroll permanent volunteers as ‘helpers’ for every class so that the teachers always have a back up.

TODAY I understood how invaluable those extra volunteers are, and maybe why this man was thanking me a few weeks back. When you sit 20 snacks out, and 40 kids show up it’s more than distressing. My helper ran to get extra chairs and tables for the kids to sit, and followed up in the kitchen to get 20+ more snacks. That alone would have taken 30 minutes if I’d had no help. By the time I got them all set in place and quieted down, the parents would be arriving.  With a volunteer, it went way more smoothly.  He got extras of everything for me to make sure every kid was taken care of.

Thank God for people like Steve who assist in ways that mean so much. I actually got to teach a lesson today which is the point of those kids being in class. NOW I don’t know if they heard any of it. Their little attention spans aren’t very long…but without the back up of my assistant today….it could have been a really scary situation.

Whew…glad today’s over!

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4 thoughts on “45+ and counting”

  1. Oh wow! That is a lot of little kids and I’m sure it felt like double the amount. The parent ‘helpers’ is a great idea.

  2. Hmmm I can imagine another conversation way-way back.

    “It’s getting close to lunch time.”
    “But WE don’t have enough food – or money to buy food for them!”
    “Philip, Andrew, come here, guys, I need a couple volunteers.” (The rest is in John 6)

    I’m sure the disciples’ volunteering helped set the stage for Jesus’ effective teaching, just like yours did for the teaching couple you assisted, and like Steve helped you.

    Sounds to me like you folks are teaching people effective methods to serve and teach your church’s future members. Excellent! (Kudos, Steve, Nice work!) 🙂

    Phil—

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