Hannah Harwood, Director of Children’s Ministries serving at Sam Jones United Methodist Church, Cartersville, Georgia is this week’s guest blogger.  Hannah was the Campus Ministry Intern at Reinhardt University when we first met. My daughter followed in her footsteps and we’ve been connected ever since.

I am currently in a very busy season serving in my first full-time Children’s Director position. It has been a learning experience navigating the ropes of a new position as well as being mom to a very precious Kindergartner. The other day I had a light bulb or face-palm moment. I had just finished leading a chapel on John 15:5 and was talking with one of our children’s ministry leaders. He happened to mention that he had a whole field of grape vines. He went on to discuss a lesson he had learned when he first started planting grape vines. In the winter months he had a tendency to plant several new vines and because they were so small and easy he would plant several more than expected. However, by the summer months the vines were huge and needed pruning and daily care. His neat and orderly rows of vines had turned into a jungle.

Immediately I realized how quickly I seem to fall into the grape vine trap when it comes to ministry and even my personal life. I LOVE to dream about ministry and enjoy brainstorming and creating new programs. I often carry around my dream journal as I write down different ideas that I get from a podcast or conversation with another Kidmin Champion. Surely something good like a new program or new great idea can’t be a bad thing…. Right? But just like the grape vines needed daily care and pruning so do the programs in our ministries. When we are dreaming and thinking of new ideas in those calm-er seasons during the year it is very easy to think that we can handle adding even more to our and our church families’ plates. In most situations projects can seem very small and simple in the beginning.  As more details get added and volunteers provide needed feedback what took such a small portion of our to-do list is now taking up more and more time, energy, and resources.

Looking back at John 15 we can find the answer to the age-old question of when to say, “No” and when to say, “Yes”. We find the section of scripture in the midst of advice Jesus is giving to his disciples prior to being arrested and crucified.

Jesus says to his disciples in verse 16 and 17 “You did not chose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: love each other.

I believe that Children’s Ministry is a calling. A very crucial and important one. We have to remember that because we were called; our command is to bear fruit. When our schedules begin to look like jungles and need pruning we have to ask ourselves, “Does this program bear fruit? Is it helping connect our children and their families to Jesus? Is it fruit that will last or one more thing on our to-do list?”

At the close of my conversation, Mr. J turned to me and said “don’t forget to ask for help if you need someone to take care of different fruits.”  I think my grapevines are going to do just fine and I can’t wait to see the amazing things GOD does.

I am the vine: you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Thanks, Hannah! If you’d like to connect with Hannah, reach out at hccoady@gmail.com.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Congratulations, Michelle McLeroy! Michelle is the winner of both Glenys Nellist’s books from last week’s book review and giveaway.