by Tina Busenitz
Eight-year-old Lizzy listened intently as the Good News Club® teacher taught a Bible lesson from the CEF® series on Joseph. Lizzy could identify with the hard things Joseph experienced. When the teacher asked, “What are some hard things kids your age go through?” one boy answered, “When people don’t believe you.” Another shouted out, “Divorce.” Then Lizzy looked the teacher in the eyes and said, “When your parents are having a custody battle over you.”
Lizzy is just one of thousands of brokenhearted children who attend Good News Club. All children will at some point in their lives experience a crisis. It might be living in a community that has experienced a natural disaster, having a parent or sibling who has a debilitating illness, or losing a family member to an accident. Sadly, statistics show that a high number of the children we minister to are suffering neglect or abuse.*
There are kids like Kayla, a 5th grader, who deals with bullying and depression. When she started coming to Good News Club, she’d often sit in the back and act like she was too cool to be at club. As her teachers took time to get to know her, they learned about Kayla’s struggles. They prayed with her and encouraged her to trust God. Kayla began to feel loved and accepted at club. Now she interacts and asks questions. While sometimes she still sits in the back, most weeks she’s excited to find new verses about God. Recently she told her teacher that she wishes they could have club every day because it helps her feel loved and to know God is with her.
So how can we effectively help these children who are going through a crisis? First, we need to be sharing the Gospel with them and inviting them to believe in the Lord Jesus as Savior. He is the One who can give them strength to endure hard times. Those who believe in Jesus can trust God’s promises, like the one in Hebrews 13:5 that says God will never leave them or forsake them.
But that’s not all we can do. We can disciple these new believers to help them grow in their relationship with God. They need to learn more about the one who loves them dearly and can be their refuge and strength in trouble. Even when they feel like no one cares that they are sad or afraid, God does. He never sleeps and is always watching over them. When things happen that don’t seem fair or right, they can trust God will take care of them. Even children who are no longer in a crisis need healing from the trauma. They need to learn how to express their cares and feelings in prayer. Kids can always turn to God, knowing He loves them, He knows what’s best for them, and He has the power to care for them.
Lizzy’s Good News Club teacher had the opportunity to counsel her, pray with her, and share Scripture that would comfort her during her crisis. The teacher and Lizzy have built a special friendship that has allowed Lizzy to confide in the teacher when she needs to talk about what is going on.
Will you pray for God to bring the hurting children to Good News Club that they might hear of His love, believe in Him, and know His hope and help throughout their lives? Will you pray that the teachers will be able to minister to the hurting children effectively? Perhaps you would like to know how to help hurting kids. Children’s Ministries Institute® offers a course called “Understanding Today’s Child” that teaches how to help children going through crises. Students learn how to identify children who might be abused or neglected, how to get help for them, how to minister to children of divorce and those from dysfunctional homes, and how to guide children to the One who is their source of hope. Many practical helps are given so students can know how to encourage the children God brings into their lives. This course can be taken online for eight weeks or as a week-long course at CEF International Headquarters in Warrenton, Missouri. Learn more at cefcmi.com. There’s a link to view course syllabi.
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