I’m so excited to invite Josh Ross to our conversation today. Josh is the Preaching Minister at Sycamore View Church in Memphis, TN. I had the great honor of working under his leadership for 2 short years. I’ve known few other church leaders who are more humble and Kingdom-hearted than Josh. Josh is the author of Scarred Faith and co-author of Bringing Heaven to Earth. He is married to his best friend, Kayci (who is an even better speaker than him); together they have two boys, Truitt (age 8) and Noah (age 6), whose prayers move mountains.
I’m so grateful Josh agreed to share some insights from a Preaching Minister’s standpoint. He is truly a champion for Children’s Ministry. Welcome, Josh.
I’ve had the privilege to share in a few Passover meals throughout the years. It has become something I crave every spring. I get together with other Christians, and since we are followers of Jesus, we celebrate the Passover with Jesus as the main event. It is memorable, inspiring, and informative.
The first time I participated in a Passover meal, I was stunned to see how involved children were. I went back and read Exodus 11, and sure enough, it is in there. Children were not only present, but they participated.
It took me a little while to reconcile this with how our churches attempt to keep their children quiet during communion. Yet the meal (Passover) which our communion (Eucharist) comes from involved children talking…a lot.
Kayci and I allow our children to take communion with us*. It is a decision we made a few years back. We take it as a teachable moment to help them understand what Jesus accomplished through the death, burial, and resurrection. When our oldest was about four, we gave him the bread during communion, and he ate it. Then, he looked at me and said, “I want more.” I sat there with his request and thought to myself, “Truitt, you don’t know what you are asking for right now, but I hope and pray that request will only increase throughout your life.” More of Jesus. There is nothing I want more for my kids.
As a preacher, I’ve come to believe that creating, cultivating, and investing in Children’s Ministry is so much more than providing babysitting in order to pass time. With that said, there are a few truths I have come to believe about this:
- Children are never too young for spiritual formation. Never. Information and inspiration begin to shape a child’s heart and mind from the moment they enter into the world. The goal is not to stabilize them until they get into the youth group in order to teach them about the deeper things of God.
- Every child is in need of spiritual aunts, uncles, grandparents, brothers, and sisters. You may never teach a children’s class or volunteer at VBS, but smiles, high-fives, and hugs may just be advancing the Kingdom of God in the life of a child more than you may ever imagine.
- Lastly, pay attention to how God is revealing Himself through children. They are often His vessels and mouthpieces to speak truth and conviction into people of all ages. They are more than sponges; they are prophets.
*I (Danielle) have to share this sweet story that I will always cherish. Kayci taught the boys that we don’t keep Jesus to ourselves. We share Him with others and with the world. So you can frequently watch them during Communion handing the bread to someone sitting close to them and whisper, “Jesus loves you” or “This is the bread for you.” It’s the most precious thing to watch and even more earth shattering when they turn to you on your last Sunday at a church you love deeply and hate to move away from and these boys – these boys whom you have prayed for and who have prayed for you – they hand the Body Broken to you and remind you that even your short time together matters because we are all still family united by Christ’s sacrifice, and Jesus loves you.
Thank you Josh for being a Pastor that leads with the understanding that children’s faith matters and thank you Josh & Kayci for discipling your boys with the same understanding.