Twice now I have gone to Starbucks and had a conversation similar to this:
Me: Can I have a Grande Pike Place, no room for cream, please?
Barista: I’m sorry but we’re out of regular Pike Place coffee. Can I get you something else?
[ long pause while I process this response ]
Me: Um…you don’t have any Pike Place coffee? For real?
Barista: For real. I’d be happy to make you a mocha, or a carmel marchiato, or something like that.
[ another long pause while I process this response ]
Me: Uh…no thanks…I really just wanted a regular cup of coffee.
True story. I left there completely unsatisfied and bewildered that they didn’t have regular coffee. Wasn’t that the main thing that made Starbucks…well, Starbucks?!? The name is actually Starbucks COFFEE! It’s what everything else revolved around…wasn’t it?
Yet as I think about Children’s Ministry, I wonder how often we leave out the “main thing”? What is that? The Gospel of Jesus Christ, plain and simple. All the fluff is critical – it’s what engages children! But without the main thing that’s all it is – fluff. And while it may not be so obvious and people may not be able to articulate it, the truth is when they leave our ministries without the main thing, they leave completely unsatisfied.
So work hard on the “new & exciting” in your ministry – it is vital, just like all the extras at Starbucks (it’s primarily what draws people in). But make sure you are keeping the main thing the main thing in your ministry, not only in this Christmas season, but all year long. This should be the basis of everything you do and what everything else revolves around: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.