When I first began serving in Preschool Ministry, I did so in partnership with my wife, Liza. I’m not sure I would have thought I was a “good” candidate to work with preschoolers. It wasn’t something I’d ever done before, but I was looking for somewhere I could serve that was different than my staff responsibilities. Liza and I thought it would be cool to be able to serve together, and she is made to work with kids.
Plus, our daughter, Story, had just turned two-years-old. We were concerned about how she’d do staying another couple of hours after already having been in her preschool small group during the first worship gathering. So, we decided to simply start by serving as leaders with her class during the second worship gathering.
I discovered it was a lot of fun. After all, they’re preschoolers. So, there was a lot of building blocks, coloring pictures, assembling puzzles, and playing on the playground. However, I also discovered it was the perfect place to actually practice what we preach about making disciples. On a weekly basis, there was opportunity to tell Bible stories, help kids memorize Scripture, pray together, sing songs, and basically try to model for them, as much as teach them, what it looks like to love Jesus.
The biggest surprise, though, was one particular way God would use me in the life of a child in a way I would have never expected.
In that first preschool small group we helped to lead, there was a boy named Robert. Robert had some special needs. He wasn’t very verbal, even for a two-year-old. He didn’t play very much with the other kids, and was also rarely able to be still for very long at all, which meant he normally didn’t make it through snack time much less the songs, Bible story, and prayer.
The prospect of working with Robert was pretty overwhelming for me. I had absolutely no experience working with children with special needs. However, Robert often had a buddy with him whose presence was always a welcome help. On the weeks his buddy wasn’t able to be there, though, those responsibilities often fell to me.
One week Robert was having a particularly difficult day. I wanted to his parents to be able to get through the whole worship gathering, if possible. So, I was trying to do anything I could to avoid having to notify them to come get Robert. However, it didn’t seem like he could be consoled at all.
Finally, I just picked him up and decided to go for a walk with him so we’d stop distracting all the other kids. He held him tight to me. He was struggling against me and screaming and then grabbed my face. Then something very odd happened. He began to stroke my beard like it was a puppy or something, and he immediately calmed down. We walked up and down the hallway while he rubbed his palms against my facial hair, and, for a little while, anyway, all was right with the world.
Last week, Matt led us to learn from God’s Word how we as a church can invest sacrificially. He began with the big idea that “God has put things in you that really belong to us.” The point, of course, is that God has given each of us skills, gifts, and talents that can and should be used to invest in His people here in His church.
I think one of the greatest investments we can make is in the next generation, and preschool ministry is the perfect place to do just that. It might be the story you tell that show how important God’s Word really is. It might be your prayer that helps establish how to talk to God. It might be your smile or your song or your game or your hug that makes the difference in the life of a child. It might even just be your beard.
But you’ll never know if you don’t take the step to make that investment. I challenge you to do just that.
Ready to make an investment and serve in preschool or simply want to know more? Visit brookhills.org/preschoolvolunteer.
Chris Kinsley serves as our Communications Director. He and his wife Lia have been members of Brook Hills since 2003. They have two children, Story and Haven, and they lead a small group and both serve in Preschool Ministry.