If you are a parent, you’ve more than likely heard the saying, “Your child spells love T-I-M-E.” We recognize that for kids the best way for them to know they are loved is when you spend time with them, giving them your full attention and letting them know that they are important to you.

This month as we celebrated Valentine’s Day and dive into the Lenten season, there will more than likely be a lot of talk about “love” in your homes and churches. What are some tangible ways we can “spell” love for our kids?

  1. T-I-M-E – Yup, the principle works here too! Taking the time to build relationships with the kids both inside and outside of church let’s them know that they are important to you and to Christ. One great app to help you establish relationships with kids in small groups is the LeadSmall app available for Apple and Android. This app allows you to put faces to names of kids in your group, track their prayer requests, contact their parents, and keep in touch throughout the week. It’s a great way to say “I love you” all week long, not just on Sunday.
  1. R-E-S-T – The kidmin volunteers at your church put in a solid hour or two of work each Sunday giving of themselves to the families and children they serve. Consider ways that you can offer them a “rest” throughout the year so they don’t grow weary and lose heart. Some churches offer a “sabbatical” to regular volunteers during the summer months by having parents fill in those Sundays. Others have a “rest” schedule where a volunteer gets a regular month off every three months or so.
  1. J-O-Y – Kids are smart! They can tell when you want to be with them and when you have to be with them. Take the time before you are with your kids to let Christ fill you with His joy and vision for the ministry you are about to engage in and, as missionary Jim Elliiot said, “wherever you are, be all there!” The kids will sense your love for them through your enthusiasm and happiness about being with them!
  1. J-E-S-U-S – No matter what great crafts we do, songs we sing, hugs we give, and verses we learn, nothing says LOVE like Jesus.   It is so important that we repeatedly remind our kids, our volunteers, our parents, and even ourselves out loud, that we are dearly and greatly loved by Jesus, who is love incarnate and our hope forever.   There is never a bad time to invite Jesus into a conversation, a lesson or a moment and reflect on His great love for us.

What are some ways you are “spelling” love for the kids and families you serve?

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Christina is wife of Pastor Luke and mom to Hannah, Naomi, and Caleb. She has been serving in ministry since 2010, first as a director of children's ministry and now as a family minister near Lexington, KY. She is passionate about helping churches transition into family ministry and equipping parents for discipleship in the home. She is currently completing studies at Wesley Seminary at IWU for a Master's degree in ministry with a focus on children, youth and family, with the desire to help churches grow their family ministries.