Overlooked children. Every children’s ministry has them. These children often are the majority. Ordinary. Normal. Too easily forgotten in favor of their more vocal or more demanding counterparts. They blend into the weekly routines of the ministry. Each week they come and go, typically doing what they are supposed to do, but not always. It is not usually their goal to make waves, at least not the kind that puts the focus of disciplinary attention on themselves.
To be sure, their problems often are no fewer than their more assertive peers. They simply choose not to act out, at least not publically. And so they blend in. And they are forgotten.
Do you know who they are in your ministry? Some are shy, shunning attention. Some are simply quiet. Others are quite verbal and outgoing, but are overlooked in favor of the vocal few who make it hard for children’s workers to distribute personalized attention equitably.
The problem of unequitable distribution of attention toward children need not continue. There are solutions. Not least, parents who are directly involved. Extended family members who speak into the lives of their nieces and nephews, grandchildren, etc. Leaders who take initiative to dialogue with parents and provide for vibrant small group experiences in the context of mission and church campus activities. Church volunteers who give of their time to encourage a few children each week.
It really does take a coordinated effort to nurture a child into healthy, spiritually vital adulthood.
Are there any children at risk of slipping through the cracks in your ministry? Are there any who are too easily forgotten within the demands of running a program?
Their hearts are tender now. But that might not always be the case. By remembering the forgotten, we just might be rescuing them from critical wrong choices which they are now, or will soon be tempted to make.