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I was only 19 years old when I started preaching to children. I got my start in the 3, 4 & 5 year old class at Faith Christian Fellowship in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The church had experienced rapid growth. We had eighty kids in the preschool class and only 40 chairs. I walked in the classroom and fear struck my heart.

Jeanne, the lead teacher, recognized my apprehension and asked, “Do you want to you just watch this week?”

“Okay,” I said, as I nodded my head in agreement.

After observing the first week Jeanne gave me some homework for my second week.

“I’d like you to take this filmstrip and to rewrite the story. I like the art, but the story can be told better.”

This was 1978, before Mp-4s, DVD’s, and VHS. We used these things called filmstrip projectors where you put a roll of film in the projector and manually turned the knob when the record player went beep.  filmstrip
I put hours of preparation into that story. I came to church during the week and watched the filmstrip because I did not have a projector at home. I rewrote and memorized the entire story. I arrived at church early and set up the projector. I was sure I was going to knock the ball out of the park.

My big moment came and I started to tell the story and turn the knob on the projector. After about 30 seconds I had lost the majority of the class. The kids were teaching themselves. I did not know how to stop and get control of the class, so I just kept telling my story and turning the knob. The whole time I’m telling my story the devil is beating me up.

I’m thinking thoughts like, “I am not good this. In fact, I am really bad at this. You might as well quit and move on to something else.”

After five minutes the story ended and the bleeding stopped. I felt totally dejected. I was really excited about ministering to kids and I had failed miserably.

After class, Jeanne said to me, “Mark, you did so good.”

“I did?” was my response.

“Yes,” she said. “You told the story from your heart.”

When I think about that story I told on my first day, I realize that Jeanne lied. No, not really, but what did she do?

Jeanne knew that I needed encouragement and she found something good that I did and praised me for that. The great thing about that first day, was I learned two very important things through my failure.

First of all, if you are training a new volunteer or teaching a new skill to one of your kids, go out of your way to catch them doing something right.

Secondly, if the devil is working over time on you, it’s because you are on the right path. Don’t listen to negative thoughts about yourself. You are a child of the King!

Author Biography

Mark Harper
Web site: Mark Harper Ministries
Pastor and Leadership Coach, Mark Harper has 35 years of experience in the local church. He is the creator of the Super Church 2.0 Curriculum, which is used in over 5,000 churches worldwide. The focus of Mark's ministry is helping leaders build strong churches and helping parents build strong families. Not only has Mark served in the local church as pastor, associate pastor, and family ministry pastor but he is also a certified coach with the John Maxwell Team. He also recently released the Amazon Best Selling book The Red Book: The Lifeblood of Children's Ministry.

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