Use this hour-long retreat plan to allow God to place a renewed fire in you to carry out your ministry. Refocus and spend time with your Savior. All you need is a Bible, a journal, and something to write with. Find a quiet place. Maybe it’s the sanctuary of your church or just the quiet experienced by closing your office door.
• • •
“This world is to be my home, as much as it is not to be the place that sets the agenda for my life. It is the place that sustains me, but that also needs to be transformed by the grace of God. Thus, while participating in all of life, I need to draw aside to find a place of intimacy with the God who loves and sustains me. And from this reoccurring center-point I can be personally enriched so that I can continue to wash the feet of the world.” — Charles Ringma in Dare to Journey With Henry Nouwen
Take these 8 steps to renew your spirit with Jesus.
1. Laying Down Burdens
Read Matthew 11:28.
Think of the burdens or concerns you’re carrying right now.
Write them on a sheet of paper.
Talk to God about them.
Lay them at the room entrance.
2. You Are Loved
Read John 13:1-17.
Remember the people Jesus encountered — the people he touched, healed, and forgave? These were people a lot like you. Jesus loved them — and he loves you — deeply.
Receive the love God has for you.
Write a note to God telling him that you receive his love for you.
3. Let the Children
Read Matthew 19:13-15.
Can’t you see it? Kids hanging on Jesus’ robe, asking question after question, giggling and acting silly. How did Jesus respond?
Ask Jesus to renew that kind of passion for kids in you.
4. Hope for the Lost
Read Luke 15:3-7.
List the things that a shepherd does for the sheep. Meditate on how God has done each of these things for you.
Who in your flock has strayed? Who are the sheep in your ministry who need to know that you’re their shepherd?
Ask God to give you his shepherd’s heart for children.
5. You Are Precious
Try to imagine the following scene as you read John 2:1-11.
As you read this Scripture, what did Jesus look like?
Imagine Jesus laughing with the people. What kind of laugh does Jesus have? What does his face look like?
Read Zephaniah 3:17.
What does this mean? Imagine God rejoicing as you enter the room. See him swoop you up in his arms and declare to everyone that he is well-pleased with you.
Meditate on the fact that God delights in you.
Draw a picture of what you think this scene would look like.
Close your eyes and focus on Jesus. Remain in silence for five to 10 minutes. Do not speak. Do not pray. Simply listen to what God wants to say to you.
6. Remember the Call
Read Psalm 51:10-12.
Remember when you first felt called into children’s ministry. Who did you tell? Remember your excitement, your enthusiasm, the passion you felt? God desires those feelings for you each day as you faithfully serve him.
List the things in your life that may be quenching the fire of your call. Give each of those things to God. Ask God to restore the passion of your call to children’s ministry.
7. Remember the Why
Think of one child in your ministry. Who is this child? Why did you think of this child? Imagine the child’s smile, laughter, and delight as he or she comes to church each week.
Write a letter to that child in your journal. Explain your hopes and dreams for the child. Include your heartfelt prayers for how you want God to use you in that child’s life.
Keep the letter as a vivid reminder of why you serve children in God’s kingdom.
8. Time to Go
Pick up the burdens you left at the door when you started. Are they lighter? Why? How can you give your burdens to God every day?
Thank God for giving you a heart for children, their families, and children’s ministry. Ask God to give you a renewed strength, an enlightened vision, and an ignited passion for ministry and the people you serve.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Elaine Friedrich is a children’s ministry consultant who lives in Cordova, Tennessee.