“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”
- Forest E. Witcraft
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting with one of my very first Sunday School teachers, Junice Bryson. I am not certain how old I was when she taught me, but I think I was in her class for two years. My best guess is that I was five or six.
I loved Junice then - and I love Junice now. She has always been such a beautiful woman, one of God’s special pieces of art. Her hair, makeup, and clothes have always been elegant and polished. She is the sort of woman that little girls idolize based on the stunning outer package, but what has always made Junice most lovely is her godly heart.
I was a painfully shy child, awkward and uncomfortable in social situations, but Junice’s class felt safe. I enjoyed and looked forward to it. And I learned from it. She was a bright light, an angel. It is not her words that I remember, it is her warm, loving glow. The God glow.
When I saw Junice this past weekend, I was thrilled to sit down and visit with her. I told her that I’ve always considered her a treasured part of my faith journey.
Junice waved away tears, “Oh, you’re going to make me cry!”
When she was composed, she continued, “You know, Kris Ann, God put such a burden on my heart for you and for others - and for your salvation. I just prayed and prayed over you - just as I was called to do. It was such a pleasure and a joy to watch over you.”
What a wonderful gift Junice gave me - a safe, caring place to bask in God’s Love shining out of the heart of His beautiful servant - and I’ll never forget it.
At the children’s ministry training seminar I recently attended, I learned that “only 38% of preteens surveyed said that the church has made … a positive difference in their life.” We need more Junices. To make a positive difference in a kid’s life, you don’t need to be elegant and polished like Junice - or even a lady like Junice (her husband, Jerry, was my jr. high Sunday school teacher - and he was every bit as wonderful as his wife) - all you need is a Love for the Lord - and then you need to let it shine!
Below Are Some Statistics of Interest -
The Top 5 Sources of Stress for Elementary Age Kids
A parent having problems
Fighting with a friend or sibling
Taking a test
Wondering whether others find them attractive
Not having enough privacy
(from “Children’s Ministry” Magazine, Group Publishing 2009)
Today’s Kids …
Would rather participate than observe
Have limitless options
Shorter attention spans than previous generations
Smarter than previous generations
Driven to succeed
Carry many weights
Desire something real
Want to feel loved and cared for
Are hungry for relationship
Want to be a part of something GREAT
Lack God knowledge
(from Children’s Ministries Agency' OneDay Training)