Back in the spring of 2013, I was still pretty new to the Northstar scene. I had been involved with the Sunday serve team, helping with set up and tear down from time to time, but I knew I wanted to do more. In fact, that’s the entire reason I began attending Northstar Church in the first place. I wanted to get involved. I wanted to get plugged in. I didn’t want to just go to church. I wanted to be the church.
I began to consider volunteering to work with the Jumpstart kids. As I thought about what all that would entail, I consulted a friend of mine. Andy, who’s the director of children’s ministry for a church in Richmond simply said, “Do it. It’ll change your life.” In praying about the possibility of working in children’s ministry, I was pretty sure that’s the direction God was pushing me in. Andy’s statement was just a little added confirmation that it was the right move.
Andy was right. Working with Northstar Kids has changed my life. In the last few years, I have been amazed to watch so many of the children of Northstar mature and step closer toward a relationship with Jesus. I’ve marveled at some of the thought provoking questions that these kids are asking during small group times. I’ve been blessed to witness as they’ve followed Christ in baptism, letting the world know that Jesus is their Lord and Savior.
Working with Northstar Kids has also caused me to look back at my own childhood. I grew up in church. And there were a number of individuals who were instrumental in leading me toward a relationship with Jesus. One who comes to mind, in particular, is a man named Cecil. When I was in 5th grade, he was my Sunday School teacher. Even at that age, I could clearly see the passion that he had for his own walk with Jesus. Beyond that, I could see the passion he had for sharing Jesus with the children of our church.
I remember, at one point, that he came to the decision that our Sunday School curriculum was outdated and, maybe, a little boring. So he put it on us, his students. “What do you want to study?” he asked us one Sunday morning. He wanted us to pull out our Bibles and find a book that we could study together. Not just because that was what our curriculum directed us to study that month, but because we had a genuine desire to learn more about God’s Word. Unanimously, we chose Revelation. Cecil took a deep breath and said, “Okay.”
Now that I spend so many of my Sunday mornings teaching kids about God’s love and what His Word says, I can’t help but admire Cecil. What kind of challenge must that have been? To walk verse by verse through the book of Revelation with a group of 5th and 6th graders. He accepted the challenge. It took us nearly two years to complete our study, but we did it. Because, as much of a challenge as it must have been for Cecil, he was willing to challenge and encourage us through it all.
And his influence extended beyond that Sunday School classroom. He challenged his kids to pay attention to the pastor’s sermons. He challenged us to take notes and to grasp what the pastor spoke about. He challenged us to go home on Sunday afternoon and to read scripture for ourselves. He challenged us to find ways to apply God’s Word to our lives.
My hope and my prayer is that, by working with Northstar Kids, I would see children’s lives changed. Not because of anything that I am able to do, but because of the incredible change that is brought about through a genuine relationship with Jesus.