It takes a village to nurture kids over time. Sometimes, it is not until we become parents that we realize how much our caring parents and key influencers have loved us over time. Single acts of love are quite powerful, without a doubt. But, experiencing love over years and decades communicates an exponential impact on each of us.
- Maybe we didn’t always wipe our wet, filthy feet before entering the house, but you loved us anyway.
- Thanks for the fun celebrations after countless graduations.
- During many moments of utter sadness, your bony shoulder was a major comfort as tears dripped from our tired eyes.
- Your kind words and generous acts of kindness did not go unnoticed during the best sleepovers at your house.
- The discipline hurt in the moment, but I sure needed it after almost burning the woods down behind our house.
- We probably wouldn’t have graduate if you hadn’t tutored us.
These are just some of the phrases that a parent or children’s leader might hear as an indication of how their love is showing up in the lives of the children in their ministry.
There are six things that every kid needs. Love—our favorite four-letter word—is definitely one of them. Why? Because that’s what makes our fascinating relationship with God so special. Not only have our various life experiences given us glimpses of His unconditional love for us. We are able to grasp a greater perspective of His unfailing love through the narratives in scripture.
“Think about God’s story of love over time,” writes Reggie Joiner in It’s Just a Phase. “God embraced us as Creator and loving Father. God engaged us as an incarnate Teacher, Leader, and Friend. God affirmed us as a Redeemer and Savior. God mobilized us as a resurrected Christ who gave us His Spirit.”
It is not a single act of love that draws us toward God, but multiple acts of love over time. We don’t choose to produce a myriad of things that honor God because He fearfully and wonderfully created us. We don’t give thoughtful gifts and resources because God sent us baby Jesus. We don’t sacrifice our time to serve others because Jesus sacrificed His life. No. We worship God with our lives and relentlessly pursue Him because of His love for us then, now, and in the future. Love over time is the one thing that matters most.
Yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day in between. That’s what love over time means. As ministry leaders, we have the responsibility and privilege of serving our families over time. Each week, and sometimes several times per week, we get to demonstrate to kids and educate parents of what love over time looks like.
“Love over time is the one thing that matters most.” – Playing for Keeps
As SGLs, we get to exemplify love over time by showing up every week for our kids and students, regardless of the challenging questions they ask. We commit to intentionally engage them more specifically outside of Sundays.
As parents, we get to show love over time by being present even through overwhelming times. Leading our kids through jubilant successes, crushing difficulties, triumphant celebrations and daunting failures often feels like an aggressive roller coaster. But love over time commits to staying on the ride.
As Orange Leaders, we get to say that we are here. Not just today or tomorrow, but over time.
“And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.” – Matthew 28:20, NIRV