Deeply Rooted


While children’s ministry has changed in the past three decades,
Eunice contends that the goal of children’s ministry hasn’t. “The
goal is still to minister to children and introduce them to Jesus
as their Savior and Lord,” she says.

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“The greatest highlight of my ministry has been seeing children
make confessions of faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and then
grow in their knowledge and maturity in him,” Eunice says. “Some of
these ‘kids’ are now adult leaders in our children’s

Another ministry highlight for Eunice, a gifted administrator, is
being able to introduce a new ministry or experience into
children’s ministry and see it through from conception to

“Probably the greatest of these experiences happened two years ago
when three churches — who 10 years ago wouldn’t have worked
together-came together for a summer VBS experience.

“It was exhilarating to work with children’s ministers and
volunteers to create an experience in New Testament living for 255
children. On the night of our grand finale, the senior pastors from
the three churches stood together with messages of unity in Christ.
I’m thrilled when the children of God come together in fellowship
and love. To God be the glory!”

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Another critical key to Eunice’s long-term success in children’s
ministry is her burning desire to know and respond to the changes
in children and families.

“I’ve tried to follow trends and adapt children’s ministry
accordingly as long as the changes didn’t compromise a child’s
spiritual development,” Eunice says.

“In some ways children haven’t changed at all,” she says. “They
still need love, acceptance, direction, and attention. On the other
hand, many more children are the victims of broken homes, absentee
parents, and lack of stability in their lives. They often don’t get
intentional love, training, and discipline. Children are growing up
faster today. What used to be behavior for older junior high kids
is now common behavior for grades 5 and 6 or younger.”

And Eunice is a student of the changing family. “More families
rely on two incomes,” she explains. “Sunday is often the only day
when the whole family is home, so they may not attend church and
Sunday school as regularly. In fact, many don’t attend at all. That
means fewer people are familiar with the Bible, Bible narratives,
and biblical history.”

So how does she reach this moving target? “The most effective way
to reach anyone — children or adults — is to get to know them on
a personal basis,” she says. “Talking to them, eating with them,
visiting them in their homes or in small groups, just being with
them and discovering their specific lifestyles, likes and dislikes,
and needs builds friendship and trust. Doing work projects together
is another way to be with them. In other words, get into their
lives. I probably learned this over the years when I realized that
the kids I was reaching the best were the children of my staff
members because I spent more time with them.”

Thirty-one years have seasoned this children’s ministry veteran.
“I feel more confident in what I say and do. I frequently find new
insights in Scripture that either confirm what I learned from
somewhere or make me realize that I’ve been either off base or
ignorant. I rely more on prayer and Scripture for determining
decisions…I’m also not as likely to get uptight or distraught when
things don’t happen as I plan or desire. I’ve learned to ‘hang
loose.’ “

Even though her husband retired several years ago, Eunice has no
immediate plans for retirement. “Some of my friends are retiring,
and that’s great,” she says. “But I look around at the retirees
stamping hands at Wal-Mart or clearing trays at McDonald’s, and I
think there are much more important things to do than that.”

If 31 years seems like a long time, think again. Eunice Miller is
just getting started.

If you want to plant your life in children’s ministry, heed these
words of wisdom from Eunice Miller.

•Develop and keep a strong relationship with the Lord.
•Children’s ministry requires sacrifice; you’re “on call” all the
•Develop a balance between your family life and your
•Develop a good working relationship with other staff
•Show interest and become involved in the lives of children and
•Pray and evaluate situations carefully before jumping to
conclusions or speaking out.
•Develop close supportive relationships with other children’s
•Be prepared to “hang in there” in the good and the bad times.

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