I may not remember the exact conversation anymore — but I definitely remember the point the Spirit had to make to me. We had recently moved, and I was talking with the pastor of our new church. The conversation had turned to outreach, and one of us had mentioned the gospel and epistles of John as a good starting place to understand God’s love for us.
I do remember I said something about how understanding God as our loving Heavenly Father helps us to trust Him. The pastor’s reply took me back at first: Not everyone can comprehend a loving father.
He told me about a lady who seriously struggled with trusting God at all for that very reason. She wanted nothing to do with this All–Powerful Father. No way, no how.
Over the years, the Lord gently opened to my understanding how I struggled with much of the same issues — perhaps not so boldly or quite so deeply, but certainly nonetheless. I was comfortable with my Lord and Saviour. I loved my Jesus.
But fully trusting the Father? Apparently, that was taking things a bit far! I wanted to trust God fully (and perhaps on the outside it seemed I did)… but in actuality, my heart struggled with deciding whether He was really safe to trust — totally, completely.
Have you encountered any children like that? They may even think they want nothing to do with Christianity at all, and for a very logical reason: surrendering themselves to any father is a very scary thought.
God never meant it this way, but unfortunately this is how it stands. In our world, (some) fathers leave their families — or they stay, yet let the mother do all the dealing with the children. In our world, (some) fathers abuse their helpless children. In our world, (some) fathers are selfish, hot-tempered, lazy, neglectful.
Hardly the picture of Divine love God intended.
But honestly, how can we expect the children with this picture of a father to just open up and love the big, scary God their minds have conjured up? The simple fact is, we can’t!
But… that does not mean we have to scrap these children up as lost to Satan’s great planning. Far from it!
This is why children’s ministry needs men. Godly men. Men of kindness and integrity, firm to principle, yet gentle, loving, unselfish. Men who don’t mind playing with the children — without the foolish games or egotistical competition.
Children’s ministry needs real men.
Whether they show up as teachers themselves… or as the husbands of teachers… or as fathers of the children; whether they are there as primary support or as a set of strong arms when someone needs a hand… the point is that they need to be there.
Children need real men in their lives. Lots of them.
Children need to see that a strong man can have a soft heart…
That true courage relies, not on self, but on God…
That smiling does not make you weak…
And neither does crying.
That hard work is a virtue and that God–given authority and a servant’s heart really do mix…
That real men have feelings, too — and that children matter to them.
And that this is the kind of God we serve. This is a picture of our loving Heavenly Father. That serving an All–powerful Father is not scary — quite the opposite, what a comforting feeling to rest sheltered under the wings of the Almighty!
Many men have, unfortunately, been poor examples. We need many men to do just the opposite. (And please, if you have been the poor example in the past, don’t count yourself out! Perhaps the most powerful testimony of the power and love of God is a life changed by His grace.)
Jesus came to show the Father’s glory — and then He passed that responsibility on to us. “Ye are the light of the world!” Jesus told us.
Men, we need you in children’s ministry, too!
Is there a man who has especially represented the love of the Heavenly Father in your life? (He could be your father or any other man.) Share your story in the comments! 🙂