Heart Matters: Christian With a Capital C

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I’ve repented, and with God’s help, I’m going to put
the Christian back in Christian education.

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One of my key coordinators was having trouble with her teenage
son, but I didn’t know about her struggle. Her son was using drugs,
rebelling against all authority, and having trouble in school and
with the law. Each week, while this was going on, I met with that
coordinator to discuss and even pray about church business. Never
once did I ask, nor did she offer information, about what was going
on at home. I discovered she was having difficulty when my
sixth-grade daughter, Rachel, shared a prayer request for a
friend’s older brother. That brother was my coordinator’s son.

That was my wake-up call.

Church work should never get so busy that we forget we are the
church. For over three years at this church, I’ve been meeting
with, but not ministering to, people. I’ve been the near-perfect
model of the efficient children’s pastor. I’ve developed
coordinators, leaders, teachers, helpers, and parent sponsors. Each
week, I’ve met with different lay leaders, discussing such
important topics as the construction paper order or seating
arrangements in the third-grade class.

Together, we’ve run a very sound children’s ministry. Together,
we’ve laid aside “ministry” in favor of “the ministry.” I’ve been
so busy being a pastor/coordinator for and to these people that
I’ve forgotten to be a Christian with them.

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Recently, I apologized to my key coordinators and teachers. I’ve
repented, and with God’s help, I’m going to put the Christian back
in Christian education. I’ve committed to calling my key leaders
each week-just to see how they’re doing. No agenda. No “important”
church business to discuss. It’s a simple, “How are you doing and
can I pray for you and your family?” phone call.

I’m planning fellowship times with leaders and their families. I
took my puppet team leaders to a high school musical production.
Afterward, we had pie and coffee at my home. My Sonshine Service
leaders attended a banquet with Darlene and me. It was a lovely
evening of fellowship and food. No pressure to perform and no
planning for the future. It was plain old-fashioned fun. We held a
party for all the children’s church helpers. No planning, just
partying-presents, games, food, and ministry. These people minister
to the children each Sunday. It was time for us to minister to each
other.

I’m committing to a new prayer emphasis in our ministry. No
meeting will open or close without prayer. I encourage every
teacher in every classroom to listen to and pray for children’s
needs. Every class session ends with a prayer time.

Paul wrote, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will
fulfill the law of Christ”-(Galatians 6:2). We’re going to be known
as a church that lives the law of Christ. We’re going to be people
that carry each other’s burdens. Don’t let yourself get so wrapped
up in the daily grind of ministry that you can’t reach out to other
believers.

I’ve committed myself to this course. Each week, I’m thinking of
new ways to prepare the saints and myself for works of ministry.
I’m going to be a pastor who is first and foremost a Christian.
With God’s help, I’m going to put “Christian” living, loving, and
listening back into the Christian education at my church.

Dick Gruber is a new man in Bloomington, Minnesota.

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