A couple of weekends ago, I had an experience that may forever add perspective to why I do what I do as a Children’s Pastor. Before you hear the experience, you should know that I am a pacer. No, I am not a fan of the Indiana basketball team. When I pray, I have a tendency to pace back and forth or walk around. I used to be a kneeler but something changed in me as a late teenager and ever since I have a hard time sitting when I pray. I can do it, I just feel more comfortable if I have some space to walk.
Two weeks ago I had taken my group of kids to a kids’ rally. There was an altar time towards the end and people were encouraged to pray. As the prayer time was dwindling and the crowd was getting smaller, there was a small group of people huddled praying for a specific need. I was off to the side, praying for them, pacing. I know I could, maybe even should, have been laying on the hands and praying with them, but it was crowded, so I just paced off to the side. It was at this moment that something happened.
I was pacing and praying and something felt different. I opened my eyes a little and caught a glimpse of someone following me, back and forth. I could barely see him as he stayed in perfect step with me and I only saw the edge of him when I turned to go the other way. One of the kids from my group, probably not realizing entirely why I was walking around like that, just decided to follow me. He was not being disrespectful or rude, he just wanted to follow.
Now, fortunately, at that time I was leading this child in one of the most sacred of tasks, prayer, but where else might he follow me? Probably anywhere. I have become a leader to him and so he trusts that wherever I am going is safe and whatever I am doing is okay. If I fall, it is possible that this precious child may fall right behind me. The responsibility is awe-inspiring.
You see there are a lot of people who have entrusted this child to me. God has given me this ministry. Pastor has asked me to be an extension of his reach and fulfiller of his vision. This child’s parents have allowed me to journey with them to write in this child’s story. And the child has put his trust in me as his pastor. I must know that I am leading him down the right road and the ONLY way I can do that is by following in the footsteps of Christ. And the only reason I continue to lead this child is in the hopes that one day I can ask him to stop following me, and to walk alongside me. That is what Jesus did to his disciples, and they did to their followers. It is what my parents and other spiritual leaders have done for me and it is what I hope to do for future generations.