I love Major League Baseball (MLB). Whether it is the long tradition, the impressive records, the feel of opening day, day games, cold playoff baseball, there is not much I don’t like about baseball (with the exception of the steroids era…I wish that era was erased, but that’s for me to rant about on else’s blog site). Another thing I love about MLB is the Minor League farm system they have. No other sport league has a farm system like MLB’s.
The point of the Farm system is that MLB teams will draft a player out of high school or college and instead of putting them right into the pro leagues immediately (like the NBA or NFL), they send them to their minor league teams. That’s right, teams. Every MLB team has at least 3 teams (A, AA, AAA). The lowest level is A, then AA, then AAA. Once you pass AAA, you get invited up to the Majors and play ball in the “big leagues”.
The reason why I love the Minor League farm system is that is where the Major League teams invest in their players. When a player comes out of high school or college, they might now be ready for the big leagues. So, the Major League team invests money and time in the players by helping them grow as a player and adapting to the better quality play. If a player is successful in each league (A, AA, AAA), they eventually get up to the Majors, some sooner than others. If they aren’t able to progress as a player, they stay “stuck” in the minors for the rest of their careers.
So why am I bringing this all up? Is there a “ministry” point to any of this?
The point is that every Church’s Student Ministry has a Farm Team. That Farm Team is the Children’s Ministry. That’s right, and I believe that if you want your student ministry to grow and be healthy, you HAVE to invest in your children’s ministry program.
But Tom, I don’t have enough time in the day to invest in my own ministry, how can I help someone else’s program? Very easy, you MAKE time. Because those K-5th graders are your future AND the more comfortable they are with you as an elementary aged student, the easier it is going to be for them to move into your program when they get into middle school.
I have been working with the Children’s Ministry ever since I came on staff at New Life over 2.5 years ago and I have built some very solid relationships with the elementary students to where the 5th graders are nipping at the bud to join our student ministry. They are excited to join and honestly, that was not there at New Life before I started.
I have also been investing time at my daughters elementary school (which is just a few miles away from New Life). That, too, is a great breeding ground to new relationships and a comfortability rising middle and high schoolers (and their parents) have towards our student ministry. The more “face-time” I can get with elementary aged students the better for me because the student ministry at New Life will eventually be reaping the benefits of that extra time and effort.
So, is it more work? YES! But I would be thoroughly surprised if every Student Minister didn’t see tremendous fruit from the extra effort.
Thoughts? Experiences? Post a comment so that we can all learn from each other and benefit.