Effective Ministry Starts with Prayer
Modeling Ministry from Jesus
“I think that’s sand — can we go check?” asked Cody, a curious child eyeing the shore of a nearby river. With permission granted, he and his buddy, Dylan, strayed from the mountain trail for closer observation, immediately released to a world filled with wonder: every beetle worth examining, rock worth climbing, and side path worth traveling. There was no agenda; only the curiosity of two boys pausing life to encounter nature, willingly coming to know more about their surroundings.
Cody’s and Dylan’s youthful approach to nature illustrates Jesus’ remark about salvation when he says, “For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children” (Matthew 19:13–15). He’s reminding us that as we mature in our faith we are to continually approach him like two boys frolicking through the mountains: childlike.
However, this “childlike” attitude feels unnatural in a world obsessed with performance. It’s why the disciples publicly rebuked parents for allowing their children to “bother” Jesus. Knowing Jesus came for a rebellion of Biblical proportions, they were simply attempting to limit any distraction to the mission — like children. Thankfully, for our sake, Jesus confronted this paradigm.
During this moment with children, Jesus pointed his followers to a commonly neglected freedom: freedom from toil. Jesus says, everything rises and falls on communion with himself — which originates with prayer. Paradoxically, a maturing faith is childlike, enabling us to reclaim the passion extinguished by performance.
What Jesus recognizes is that when we rely upon our performance, the tendency is to depend less upon his power — unwittingly exchanging trust in him for assurance in our self. Considering this is an unsustainable ministry model, Jesus asks his followers to choose connection above completion.
Remember, Jesus’ disciples incorrectly assumed children hindered Jesus’ ability to fulfill his mission. So what might seem unnecessary — or even a distraction — that if you embraced, would actually increase your connection with Christ? If welcomed, would allow you to approach Jesus, liberated from hesitation and doubt — like the child cast as a wise man in the Christmas Story who is unable to pronounce “frankincense,” yet without fear, holds up a present and boldly proclaims to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus that “Frank sends this!” 
At WellConnected, we know personal and corporate ministry demands much of the individual — frequently, our purpose and calling become overwhelming. So come to Jesus like a child: expectant, dependent, and accepted. Near him, we experience something often neglected: intimacy with our creator — who breathes life into our work, and models loving God, loving people, and making disciples. Come to Jesus like a child. I dare you.
WellConnected is an initiative of OneHope, and is a gathering place for children and youth ministers to access resources, research, and content to raise up the next generation. It’s a collaborative platform to equip leaders and influencers to effectively reach the kids in their communities. We invite churches and ministers to join one another in coming up with innovative solutions for today’s realities. We are continually learning and growing from each other — sharing knowledge, insight, and best practices.