The power of a kids’ program

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Last Sunday the children of our church presented their Spring Musical Praise-n-tation for the whole congregation. I know all of our churches across our community are blessed and thankful when the kids come forward and share their faith and their songs and their skills. It makes a glorious day.

The program our Kids Music Company presented was entitled “The Sailor’s Bible.” It re-told the stories of Noah’s Ark, Jonah and The Great Fish, and Paul’s Shipwreck. With their songs and acting out the stories our children did a fabulous job of making this a superb performance.

But that’s the point I want to make today. The “performance” for the congregation was not and is not the most important component of this ministry or any others like it.

The most important part and front-line focus of this ministry is to the children themselves. It is the memorized songs, choreography, and speaking parts of these musical plays that give ground to the faith-formation of our children. In years to come it will be these songs and words that will serve as the first basis of faith that will influence them the rest of their lives. This is why this ministry is so vital for the sake of Christendom.

Take, for instance, the themes and messages of the three stories included in “The Sailor’s Bible.” The story of Noah’s Ark is pretty familiar to many people, but in this re-telling what is emphasized is that as Noah and his family were obeying God’s command to build the ark, with its outrageous and specific design as prescribed by God Himself, they were mocked and ridiculed for their efforts all along the way. Yes, they were mocked and ridiculed by friends and strangers for doing what God had commanded instead of what seemed reasonable to people.  

All that Noah and his family could do is simply answer that they were going to stand for God’s Way and God’s Word even if the whole world was laughing at them.

The kids in our church belted out those words and that faith with great conviction. Why? Because they believe it, even as young children. No, they don’t know every possible scenario when they will have to live that out as their lives unfold, but those words are now imprinted in their hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit, and when the world, friends and strangers, laughs at them for their conviction and faith in the one true God, they will be able to stand for God’s Way and God’s Word. That’s why we do these programs.

The story of Jonah and The Great Fish is also pretty well known, at least the part about Jonah being swallowed and all. But the most important part of that story is the part about the forgiveness of God. Our kids learned this part of the story and told and sang it so well. Remember, it was God’s loving desire to forgive the evil people of Nineveh that started the whole adventure in the first place. God wanted the people of Nineveh to repent so that He could forgive them and restore them in relationship with Him.

However, when He told Jonah, the prophet, to go to Nineveh to preach repentance and forgiveness, Jonah was so convinced that the people of Nineveh were too bad to be forgiven and restored, he refused to obey God’s command and set sail in the opposite direction from Nineveh. This is where the story our KMC learned and told gets to the actual truth of the matter.

It was in the dark desperation in the belly of that great fish that God came to Jonah, and Jonah realized that trying to live outside of God’s Way and God’s Call was painful and a failure leading to death.

As Jonah confessed his own sin and received the forgiveness of God, then he was able to go to Nineveh, call those people, yes, those sinners, to repentance so that they could then receive the sweet forgiveness of God and be restored to Him.

Our kids got that. As we repent and are forgiven, so God loves and reaches to the whole world of sinners, even the ones we think don’t deserve it. That’s why we do these programs.

The third story of Paul’s Shipwreck is less known, but is part of the great plan of God for Paul, and for the whole world. There were so many circumstances in Paul’s life, after God had chosen him as the great missionary, which could have prevented Paul from preaching the Good News of God in Jesus Christ.

But Paul believed with all his heart that nothing could separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus, and therefore nothing could keep him from preaching the Good News, not even a horrific shipwreck. That’s right. Nothing could keep him from preaching the Good News.

Our kids sang that like a Broadway production. But more importantly, they believe it, about Paul and about themselves as well. That’s why we do these programs.

Maybe next school year you should bring your kids to be a part of this ministry. Look what they’d learn and how their lives would be so wonderfully shaped. They’re invited.
 


Kollmeyer is pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Fayetteville. Find out about the Children, Youth, and Adult Ministries at www.princeofpeacefayette.org.