Watering Seeds [Challenges and Joys of Rural Children’s Ministry]

By Shirley Murray 

My name is Shirley, and I am the Children’s Ministries coordinator and Sunday School teacher for First Baptist Church Delhi. Our church is very small. We are a group of adults aged 50 plus. On occasion we get to welcome two young families. If both families attend the same Sunday, our Sunday School has 2 children. Before the pandemic, I would have children in Sunday School when they were visiting grandparents.  

Small town challenges in Children’s Ministry are sometimes like large church challenges and sometimes they are unique. While we do not want to see other churches as competition, most of our community is a different denomination or would go to a larger church in a neighboring town. The large church sends a bus to the smaller towns surrounding it. Our reality is that even VBS registrations are declining too. 

Even though I always go to church with a lesson prepared and I am happy to greet, welcome, and spend time with any child that comes to FBCD, I have wondered if it is worth the time and energy when there are no children. So why do I continue to do this?  

My first class was 4 children, age 1 ½ years old. I just told them about Jesus. One mother came to me at Christmas and said, “When we set out our nativity scene, he pointed right at the baby and called “Jesus!”.” 

Another class I had for a short while was 3 young brothers from another country. They were a handful. Several years after they had moved away, I saw them at an event, all grown up. The middle brother came over to me, gave me a hug, and told me that he was attending seminary. He had accepted Christ because of hearing the stories of Jesus’ sacrifice. 

So, is it worth my time? It certainly is! God has given me the chance to plant seeds then he takes over. This summer I met a family with a brother and sister, at VBS. I have told their mom about Sunday School, and I am hoping to meet them again soon… to continue to plant seeds.

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