On one occasion, I was part of a children’s ministers’ small group meeting, and we were talking about summer camps. I mentioned that I thought it would be great if there were a class for children of divorce during a summer camp. One of the ladies said:
“Oh yeah?!? Who would want a class of all out of control kids? Because, you know those kids from divorced homes – they are going to be acting out all the time!”
WHAT! Don’t these kids deserve the Lord’s love and the opportunity to have summer camp experiences just like kids from intact families?
Before we begin articles about disruptive kids and whirlwind kids in church classes, I’d like to take this week to encourage you when it comes to working with these children. In future weeks, we’ll take some time to discuss tools and tips for dealing with different situations that are likely to arise.
One day I was reading through Mark 5:23-43. I thought about all of our church leaders that work with kids with challenging behavior on a regular basis. I thought about the children of divorce that seem to task even the calmest leader.
This is the scripture passage where Jesus was in a crowd and the people pressed around him. You may remember a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years. When she heard that Jesus had come to her area, she thought,
“If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.”
Now that is real faith! This woman must have known who Jesus was. She knew there was power in being close to Jesus.
She succeeded in pressing against Jesus, and she was healed. Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him, and He asked who touched his clothes. Just imagine the disciples when Jesus asked that question. Here are all these people who were “pressed around him,” and Jesus is asking which one touched His clothes? I can see the disciples rolling their eyes and looking at each other, as one of them said,
“You see the people crowding against you … and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?'” (v. 31).
But, Jesus wouldn’t be deterred! He kept looking around to see who it was. Finally the woman, “trembling in fear,” came forward. She confessed she had pressed against Jesus and had been healed.
Here’s the point I want to make: PRESS UP AGAINST JESUS! When these angry, disruptive kids show up in your groups, press up against Jesus. That’s where the power is. Have faith. He will hear your prayers and feel you pressing against Him. Jesus will provide. It may be through a video, an activity book, a discussion time, through the other children and even by speaking directly to the child’s heart. You don’t have to carry the burden of doing it yourself. Allow the power to go out of Jesus directly into the kids.
PRESS UP AGAINST JESUS! Then have faith like the woman who had been bleeding for 12 l-o-n-g years. I’m sure it must have seemed impossible to the other people in her life that she could be healed, just as it may seem impossible to a child’s relatives, teachers and even counselors that the child could be helped.
While Jesus was still talking to the woman, a messenger arrived regarding another situation. Isn’t that just like working with children? You get one situation calmed down when something else happens.
You will be blessed as you read the entire story for yourself. Notice what happens with the 12-year-old child at the end of the story. The people in this story thought a little girl was dead. In other words, they had given up on this child. The conversation may have sounded like this,
“Hey Jesus, you are too late. The little girl died. You don’t need to go in and see her. It’s too late. Just go on about your business and let the parents grieve.”
I get the feeling from reading verse 40 that Jesus, with determination, went forward with His plan of healing the little girl.
People in our world today are saying,
“Hey church, you are too late. That kid is totally out of control. No one can help him. You don’t even need to try. Just let him go and leave the parent alone so he or she can go on with life.”
Don’t be deterred, but be determined in the Lord to help these children!
Jesus didn’t give up on the children in the Bible. We shouldn’t give up either. Jesus loved the children and still does to this day. He will give you the strength, the power and the determination to keep moving forward with these children. Trust Him with every challenging behavior child.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda Ranson Jacobs is one of the forefront leaders in the area of children and divorce. She developed and created the DivorceCare for Kids programs. DC4K is an international program for churches to use to help children of divorced parents find healing within the arms of a loving church family. As a speaker, author, trainer, program developer and child care center owner, Linda has assisted countless families by modeling and acting on the healing love she has found in Jesus Christ. More great articles about how to successfully minister to the child of divorce in your church can be found at Linda’s website Healthy Loving Partnerships for Our Kids (HLP4) [http://www.hlp4.com]. Linda also offers support, encouragement, and suggestions to help single parents and those working with single parent children. She can be reached by e-mail at Linda@hlp4.com.