When a Cereal Box is a Ministry Tool

Almost four years serving the Lord in St. Vincent, and it still amazes me one of my most effective ministry tools was a cereal box.

The Lord has allowed me to serve with the youth and children here in Barrouallie. One thing that they especially need is what I refer to as “structure.” Structure is basically a set of rules that are regularly enforced. Amazingly, there is little structure for the children of Barrouallie. because few people have the patience to enforce laws.

Laying down ground rules was easy since I use the traditional ones from Child Evangelism Fellowship:

  1. Sit up
  2. Look Up
  3. Listen Up
  4. Hand Up
  5. And Zip Up (NEVER shut up!)

the question was how do I enforce those rules?

It was almost by accident I decided to try writing children’s names on the back of a cereal box in 2016, and give good ticks whenever they did something right (ten ticks got tablet time)…it didn’t take long for the idea to take off!

Today I’ve graduated to a tick notebook with lots of colored pens, but the general principle is still the same

My tick-sheets have taught me children do actually crave and desire structure. But they need someone with the patience to develop a system, and stick by it.

There are times when I in mercy give out tablet time or Jolly Ranchers to children who are behaving even though they haven’t got the right amount of ticks. But for the most part I’m a jerk in these situations and refuse if they don’t have enough for the reward.

When I started ministering to children they would constantly demand things and ask why not when I told them no.

Now they don’t do that anymore…

because they know I have a regularly enforced system.

Structure isn’t exactly easy to establish. But with patience and some creativity children will understand the rules, and obey them

Published by John Wilburn

teacher, and disciple-maker in Barrouallie St. Vincent

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