• Optical Illusions in CM?

Posted by: kidhelper on Monday, October 17th, 2011

This is one of my favorite optical illusions. There are two ladies here, one young and one old. Can you see them?

An optical illusion is defined as something that appears one way when you look at it, but to another it appears different when they look at it —two different views of the same thing. To see the illusion you have to see both views, not just one. Some do not have eyes to see it. But to the trained eye, the hidden is quite obvious. I think these Optical Illusions can happen in our Children’s Ministries. Some do not observe correctly what we are doing, but some really have clear vision and get it. They see it!

So here are five areas where apparent optical illusions might seem to be at work. That might give you pause or cause others to double take.

1. Herein, lies the illusion, our ministry can appear to some like a well-oiled machine, well planned, and God is at work in the kids. But to another person, with an untrained eye, they just might perceive our ministry as just good child-care or babysitting that works.

What is missing from this observation is any sense of strategy or purpose driving the program. It appears just to be happening. CM is more than maintenance. They may fail to see how much training and coaching is involved for CM for it to work on a spiritual level. It might be like watching a car race at the racetrack, but not connecting with the contribution of the pit crew makes behind the scenes for the car to win.

2. Some leaders view Children’s ministry as just a necessity, in order to attract the involvement of adults. However, another person with bifocals might recognize the place of CM for adults, but they also view CM as an investment in the potential of another generation of leaders, so having a children’s ministry is not a sudden necessity, it’s always a requirement.

What is missing in this duality is an obscured vision or purpose of CM, it is not just a matter of convenience today. CM is not myopic. CM for the vocationally called is more about being intentional. It is the long panoramic view. We see that we are adding another layer to what the children will become, in the future.

3. Some leaders perceive that Children’s Ministry is just doing something with the children. While another person with corrective lenses sees CM as another great opportunity to advance the cause of the Kingdom by ministering to the kids.

What is missing from this illusion is seeing CM as just entertainment (for now) or just keeping them occupied, rather than another opportunity for spiritual investment. CM is not just a quick fix to keep ‘em busy.

4. Some leaders project that anyone who is willing and available qualifies to work with the children. Another, with a better vantage point might allege: not just anyone who is willing and available should minister to kids.

What is missing from this illusion is the how to qualify the willing, how to train, orient and provide supervision so that the children get the very best ministry available to them in our program. We have some high standards, on purpose. We even do background checks for safety reasons. We train for ministry to children.

5. Some view CM mostly as an educational ministry to teach Bible content to children. Others, who see more clearly, want more than Biblical content, they want to help children apply what they learn. An example might be: the need to teach the gospel to children compared to the need to provide a way for children to respond the gospel once it is taught.

What is missing with this illusion is the overt difference between feeding the fish and catching the fish. Eighty percent of conversions in the U.S. happen between the ages of 4-12 years old. It is not one or the other. Rather, it is both.

Some of these examples might explain some of the reactions you get to your ministry. Is your reality just an illusion?

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