Eat Your Vegetables

A healthy outlook on children’s ministry

Brussels sprouts; never liked them, never will. The Brussels sprout is a leafy green vegetable that resembles a miniature cabbage. It is a cultivar of wild cabbage that is enjoyed by some, not me, for its edible buds. I so detest this vegetable that I once thought I’d never visit its namesake Brussels, Belgium because of it. I feared my culinary nemesis might appear on every restaurant menu in the city, or worse yet, eating one might be a prerequisite for entry into Belgium. I have since learned that experts believe this vegetable did not originate in, and has nothing to do with Brussels.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against vegetables. It’s just that I never met a vegetable of which I wasn’t suspect. Why you ask? Well, I remember as a child thinking, why is my mother working so hard to convince me to eat something that is supposed to be so good? She tried everything to get me to eat Brussels sprouts. She began by reminding me of all of the starving children in the world to which I was impervious. Next came the time honored account of how my grandfather refused to drink orange juice his whole life only to try it on his death bed. His famous last words were “this is really good. I wish I’d tried it sooner.” She would conclude, “Don’t be like your grandfather.” Ultimately, it was the threat of no dessert and an early bedtime that coerced my compliance. I ate one, but only one, all the while imagining that, as was the case with my grandfather, death might soon follow.

Never having had children of my own I have never had the occasion to plead “Eat your vegetables”; however, I have experienced the pastoral equivalent which is “We need volunteers to help with our Sunday morning children’s program”. My experience has been that it is easier to find people to clean bathrooms and empty trash than it is to help with children. Puzzled? Me too! After all, nearly every Christian will concede the importance of our children’s spiritual nurture. Let’s guard against viewing our church’s children the way some people view vegetables. They acknowledge their importance, even believe they are vital for our overall health, but choose not to engage them grateful that others do.

I don’t want to coerce you into helping with our children on Sunday mornings. I do want to re-affirm my personal commitment to our children, their families and our children’s ministry. I ask you to do the same, and invite you to prayerfully consider participating in one of the many opportunities for involvement on Sunday mornings. Both Pam Swanberg and Deana Chambers will be delighted to provide you with information detailing how you can help. So, allow me to follow my mother’s lead and say don’t be like my grandfather. Don’t wait to try helping in our children’s ministry only to regret not having tried it sooner. You never know. You just might like it!

Pastor Todd