A couple of weeks ago our church shook things up a bit and had a small group open house on a Sunday morning. This meant changing up our services and where and how we did some things in our children’s ministry area.
Since we were beginning some new teaching on “Growing the Fruit of the Spirit,” I decided that maybe this would be a good time to pull out the old laminator from my Children’s Ministry Bag-O-Tricks and let the kids spend some time making a “Fruit of the Spirit” placemat! (And yes, I did think that perhaps it would use up some time since we had no idea how long these things take.)
Plus, I mean, after all, who doesn’t love a good church-made placemat???? And did I mention it was LAMINATED???!!! Because it was!
So HiSKidZ got busy with their base mats, glue-sticking on their fruits of the Spirit until finally the moment of magic arrived. It was time to LAMINATE!!!! (Yes, there was that kind of excitement in the room, and they still seemed to have no real idea of the awesomeness they were about to be a part of!)
One by one they came in awe and wonder at this amazing machine I had obviously kept hidden from them for the span of their entire lives. (For their safety, or the safety of the laminator, I suppose)
“How does it do that?”
“OOOO! It’s hot!”
“What’s it doing in there?”
“Hey! My thing looks so much prettier when it comes out.”
“Where did you get that?”
“I think my glue melted.”
“Can I do it?”
“Here I’ll do it.”
“Hey, get out of my way. I’m helping Ms Dawn.”
“He’s not letting us have a turn.”
After a quick intervention so no one lost their Fruit of the Spirit, (including me) we continued on.
And on and on it went. They couldn’t get enough of the amazing plastic melting machine and the technology of transformation that was happening right before their very eyes.
It was then that I realized how much I had been keeping from them, and I began to ponder how many other amazing wonders were used in preparing things for them to use rather than allowing them to know the joy of using them for themselves.
Things like envelope glue pens, three hole punches, three hole paper, those super long giant staplers, spiral book binding machines. . . the list is probably endless.
But more than keeping them from experiencing the joy of the tool itself, I had taken from them the joy of serving with the tools.
And so, in large group time on this Small Group Sunday I learned this most valuable lesson:
Lead a child to the laminator and you have equipped him for the day, but teach him to laminate and you have equipped a children’s volunteer for life.