I once was asked to address a classroom filled with 4–6 year old children and try to explain to them what a pastor is and does. I accepted, not because I felt I could do this well (far from it), but the challenge of it intrigued me. How do you teach a group of 4–6 year old kids what a pastor is and does? This is something any pastor should be able to do. So, pastor, how would you go about this? Below represents my efforts to explain a pastor’s task in the form of props I brought with me to class for the kids to see, touch, and ask questions.
A pastor’s task is to read, study, and teach God’s Word to God’s people. It is also to be that which dictates all that a pastor believes, lives by, and does to care for others.
A cross is the simplest visual to understand the gospel of that which a pastor preaches and equips the church. It is also the most obvious way to talk about Jesus and his person and work in a way for children to understand.
Picture of Prayer
A pastor is to be dedicated to prayer and the ministry of the Word. The easiest way to portray prayer to children seemed to be a drawing I brought that showed a man on his knees with folded hands praying to God. A pastor is specifically to be dedicated to pray for his family and the people in his local church.
My role as a pastor is to first shepherd my wife and children before I focus on anyone in my church. Their souls have been entrusted to me in the same way as my congregation has been by God. This is so important that if I fail in this task, I am disqualified from being a pastor.
Most kids would recognize a stethoscope as that which a doctor uses to care for his patients. A pastor is similar to a doctor in two ways. First, we also go to the hospital to visit people who are sick. Secondly, like a doctor, we care for sick people. However, as doctors care for the physically ill, we care for those who are spiritually ill, whose hearts need healing from sin.
I know many of you might take issue with this one, but much of what I do as a pastor revolves around shepherding the flock under the oversight of the heavenly gift of “coffee.” Whether it is a pot of coffee that gets put on when someone comes over to the house, a one-on-one discipleship meeting conducted over a cup of coffee, or important uninterrupted sermon writing or counseling that takes place at a local Starbucks, much of a pastor’s work (at least mine) often revolves around coffee, tea, hot chocolate (my 6-year-old’s contribution), or some other hospitable drink of choice (which is what the mug ultimately represents).
I hope this acts as a guide for you to come up with your own way to communicate the important role of a pastor to children and why even these little ones should be thankful if they have a faithful pastor in their life. Whatever version of this teaching you create… try it out on your token 6-year-old at home as I did.
What props would you add to the list and why?
Brian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church. To find out more, please visit Practical Shepherding.