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A Lesson Learned From The Bible’s ONLY Children’s Pastor

While laying in bed early this morning, I was thinking about our three sons and how God has blessed us with some of the greatest boys in the world. They aren’t perfect in any stretch of the imagination. But, they are a phenomenal gift from God to us. Evidently, Vickie and I have done some things right in raising our sons. Unlike the prophet Eli, who had regret after regret for the iniquities and vast transgressions of his sons, we have few if any regrets. God has been so good to us.

Eli is an interesting person. We’ve all either preached or heard sermons about Eli’s parenting skills or the lack thereof. But have you ever stopped to think that Eli, the great priest, is the only Children’s Pastor mentioned in the Bible? If there is another one, I sure can’t think of it on this extremely cold Christmas vacation morning. And, we can learn much from this biblical example of what to do and what not to do as a Children’s Pastor. Consider this …. (this is great preaching material!)
In reading recently 1 Samuel, I was reminded of these facts about the young Samuel. He "grew up in the presence of the Lord", grew "in stature and in favor with the Lord", and "ministered before the Lord." (1 Samuel 2:21,26; 3:1) and yet "Samuel knew not the Lord." (1 Samuel 3:7)

Samuel had been under the tutelage of Eli, one of Israel’s most seasoned priest. Eli would have taught him priestly ways; the rigors of ceremonial washings, the intricacies of food laws, the precise articulations of ritual prayers, the study of the Torah. He would have initiated him into all of the guild secrets: shown him how to slit the throats of goats and bulls, boil and roast their flesh, carve the fat and the meat of sacrifice. He would have shown him how to mix various concoctions of incense and anointing oil, and which to use for what. Eli would have groomed him well for priesthood.

And yet, Eli failed in one of his greatest assignments. Eli, the priest that was assigned to commune with God and to receive His directions and instructions, failed to train his apprentice or young disciple how to know God and to recognize His voice.

Here’s the application for us (and I’m pointing a finger at myself as well). We often are great at dispensing Bible information. We hopefully are laying a strong, solid foundation of the Word. Our services and classes are teaching the do’s and don’t’s, the how’s and why’s, the where-to’s and therefore’s of the Word. Samuel had all of that too. He sat at the feet of one of the greatest leaders and teachers of his day. And yet Samuel "knew not the Lord" and failed at recognizing God’s voice. I am convinced that God is wanting to speak to and through our children. God wants boys and girls who hear and recognize His voice. He has much to say and do through the children in our ministries. But, the majority if not all of our children wouldn’t know how to recognize that inward leading and voice. With that being said, we are failing miserably. Here’s my thought in a nutshell. The Word (our solid teaching each week) without the ability to hear the voice of the Spirit of God will fail to produce the world shakers that God desires. And, to keep things in balance, the Voice without the foundation is havoc in the making. Thank God for the foundation of the Word. Thank God for great Bible lessons and teachings. But, we need to learn from Children’s Pastor Eli’s mistake. The Foundation without the Voice will never accomplish God’s mission!

The reason for this email isn’t to preach a sermon. As I awoke around 3 AM, I was prompted to encourage you to make this your mission for this coming year. Lay the foundation of the Word in 2007. Don’t hold back on the Word. But, make it a PRIORITY to teach children how to hear the voice of God and to flow supernaturally with His Spirit!

One of the main goals of the Ignite the Supernatural Conference is to help you to fulfill this assignment. In my travels across the country and around the globe in the last few years, I have found that this teaching is so needed. I’ve had Children’s Pastor after Children’s Pastor ask me to share with them about the supernatural work of God in children’s ministry. If this is truly the Joel 2 generation, if this is the generation that will fulfill Joel’s prophesy of children speaking boldly forth for God (prophesying) then we as Children’s Pastors and leaders had better start equipping children on how to recognize and flow with that voice!

I honestly believe that EVERY children’s ministry leader needs the revelation and impartation provided at this conference. Whether you are brand new or, like me, an old codger in the ministry, we ALL need the fire that will be poured out at the conference. I am convinced that those at the conference will leave Orlando like the 120 left the Upper Room and will literally be the impetus and igniter of a Holy Ghost revival in our local Jerusalem. Believe me when I say that this isn’t a number building, registration boosting letter. I want to do everything that I can to launch a Holy Ghost revival in children’s ministry. I know that I know that I know that this is my mandate for this period of my life. Everything else is secondary. The cost and brevity of the conference schedule should make it conducive for EVERY children’s pastor to attend. I want the fire to fall in your church. I want to help make it happen.

Raising up world-shakers and history-makers ….

Billy Burns, www.billyburnsministries.com , www.ignite-conference.com .

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