What do you do?
That is the question that I fear most in social settings. I’m often tempted to lie and tell people I’m a stay at home mom. Or a stripper. But I don’t. Because telling the truth is in the rule books in my profession.
I’m a children’s minister.
Telling people you work for the church is often a conversation stopper. “Oh,” they say, grasping at their next word, “that’s nice.” Then the conversation does one of three things:
- They change the subject.
- They tell me how much they love their church and how their VBS reached 9,003 kids last year.
- They start confessing how long it’s been since they’ve been to church and why their lives are so busy that they just simply can’t fit church in anymore.
I wish it didn’t make people feel awkward. I’m really just a glorified party planner. One who throws parties where Jesus is the theme. I throw these parties every Sunday morning and then once a year we do a sort of Jesus-pa-looza called vacation bible school.
I don’t judge other families for being busy. I don’t judge people who have missed a Sunday or two. Or sixteen. I simply make sure the party is fun and safe and that families feel welcomed and loved. At least that’s the goal. I try to create a space where people can join with other people to learn, love, and enjoy each other.
Church is a place to come together with other believers. Or at least other people who want to be believers. Okay, maybe it’s for people who are thinking about wanting to be believers. No one at church is perfect. No one has their life all together. We simply gather to take time to say, “Hey, God! Thanks for all the cool stuff you’ve done for me. Oh, and please help me to not be a jerk this week.”
Yes, we read the Bible and we teach the stories. That’s not to make people feel bored or guilty or squeamish. It’s because God, in his infinite wisdom, recorded the stories of lots of other people who believed in him. Or wanted to believe in him. Or were thinking about wanting to believe in him. Most of those people made mistakes. Big mistakes. And most of them learned lessons. So we read the stories in the hope that we can learn from other people’s lives. It also helps us to see that God has always been a stand up guy who takes care of his people.
I’m proud to be a children’s minister, a church worker. If I wasn’t I’d probably go with the “stripper” line more often, although I don’t think anyone would buy it. I’m grateful that God has called me to be in this position in this time. I pray every day that He will work through me to bless others even though that sometimes makes for long, awkward pauses and fumbling of words. And I pray that his Spirit would go before me each day so that the path would be clear and the conversations would be plentiful.