Use this devotion at a meeting of all your volunteer teachers and helpers, including the “behind-the-scenes” heroes, to show just how much God appreciates everything your volunteers do for the kids of his harvest field. Allow approximately ten minutes, with a snack time afterward.
10-Minute Volunteer Devotion: Investing in a Future Harvest
Prepare for This Session
- Read John 4:35b-37, and consider its implications for the different kinds of volunteers who work in the children’s ministry.
- Gather your supplies: a small cup of candy corn for each group of four or five volunteers, a strip of sod or green felt cut into squares (optional), one six- to eight-inch red clay pot for every four to six participants, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookies or wafers, cardboard (for use with optional sod), plastic flowers, serving spoons, plastic bowls and spoons, and a bouquet of fresh flowers.
- Prepare “flower pot” ice cream snacks: Run the clay pots through the dishwasher to clean them. Fill the pots with chocolate ice cream, and crumble chocolate cookies or wafers over the top. Place the filled pots in the freezer for a day or two before the meeting.
- If you’re using sod, place each square of sod on cardboard.
- Just before the meeting, remove the flower pot snacks from the freezer. Place a square of sod or green felt on each meeting table as a base for your snack pots. Stick plastic flowers in the pots for color.
The Journey of the Flowers
Bring a bouquet of fresh flowers to the volunteer meeting, and set them on a front table.
Say: Aren’t these flowers beautiful?
Invite participants to pass them around and smell them. Say: You know, it took a lot of people to get these flowers here to us today so that we could enjoy them. Before they were harvested,
- someone tilled the fields;
- there was someone else planted the seeds;
- someone had to make sure they were regularly watered;
- other people sprayed for bugs and pulled weeds;
- somewhere along the line someone finally harvested them;
- someone else took them to the marketplace;
- and finally, the florist bought them and arranged them so I could bring them to this meeting for all of us to enjoy.
None of these people are getting to enjoy the fruit of their labor firsthand as we are now and as you will be for the next week! Hand the flowers to one of your volunteers to take home. Choose someone who is new to the children’s ministry or who has had a recent birthday or another special event.
Say: It’s different in the kingdom of God. Everyone who has a part in the crop gets to share in the joy of the harvest. Maybe you think your role in bringing kids to the Lord is small or insignificant. But this is a collaborative effort, and we all get to enjoy the fruit. Regardless of your role in ministry, you get to enjoy the harvest!
A Biblical Challenge
Have participants sit in groups of four or five if possible, according to ministry teams or classroom groups so people in each group have worked together and know one another.
Read aloud John 4:35b-37. Say: We’re going to take a moment to affirm and encourage one another as we recognize the different contributions each of us makes to the process of harvesting the lives of our children.
Hand a cup of candy corn to one person in each group.
Say: I’d like the person holding the cup of candy corn to start. Tell the rest of the group how the person on your right assists in harvesting spiritual fruit in children. For example, you might say, “Mary, because you are so cheerful when you greet and register children at the door, you prepare them to be receptive to the teaching that day and you encourage parents to get more involved.”
After you have affirmed the person on your right, you get to eat a piece of candy and pass the cup to that person. That person will then do the same thing with the person on his or her right, and so on until everyone in your group has had a piece and “enjoyed the harvest!”
After everyone has been affirmed, say: Regardless of your role in ministry, you get to enjoy the harvest!
A Big Thank You
Say: I want to read you a letter that might reflect the thoughts of someone who was in your Sunday school class:
“Hi! I’m graduating from high school this year. As I look back I realize that a lot of people played a significant part in my life while I was growing up. I want to thank these people and you’re one of them!
“Oh, you may not remember me. I was one of your kids in Sunday school ten years ago. My dad was very sick when I started coming. I think his illness made him and Mom decide to start going to church.
“Because my dad died a few months later, my mom had to go back to work and we moved out of town. So I was really only in your class for a few months. But I wanted to write and tell you how often I think about you.
“While Mom was so busy taking care of Dad and then trying to get a new job, you were one of the few adults who made time to listen to me. You really cared. When I was sad, you understood. Sometimes you just sat with me, and we didn’t say anything at all.
“I wasn’t there long, but you had enough time to tell me the good news about Jesus. I remembered what you said, and a few years later I became a Christian (and so did my mom)!
“Your love and caring, and the excitement you always showed when you were telling us about God made it easy for me to gain my own faith later on. Although you were miles and years away, I felt as if you were with me that day when I became a Christian. Thanks for taking the time to care.”
Say: You see, regardless of your role in ministry, you get to enjoy the harvest!
Talking With the Lord of the Harvest
Say: I’m going to lead us in prayer. After I say each line, take a moment to pray silently to the Lord of the harvest.
Say each line; then pause for silent prayer:
- Think about those adults who were significant in your life as you grew up or when you came to know the Lord. Thank God for the laborers who invested in your life…and for those who harvested you.
- Think about those children who’ve been in your classroom in the past. Pray for them and for the people who continue to work in their lives.
- Think about the children you have in your classroom right now. Pray for them, and pray that you will someday have the joy of seeing a bountiful harvest from this fresh crop!
After a pause, say: Amen.
Sharing in the Harvest
Pull the artificial flowers out of one of the flower pot snacks, and say: Surprise! All of us really do get to enjoy the harvest! Even though someone else planted these flowers, we all get to eat the ice cream inside the pots. Enjoy!
Hand out serving spoons and plastic bowls and spoons, and let everyone serve themselves from the pots.
Say: Remember, regardless of your role in ministry, you get to enjoy the harvest.
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