Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin

Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin is about bringing together some of the leading 
women in children's ministry to share their knowledge and passion. 
For us to gather and learn from each sharpen each other.
As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
Proverbs 27:17

Barbara and Stephanie with 2 of their kidmin heroes, Matt McKee and Kenny Conley.

Raising a Child with a Servant’s Heart Who You Serve with as an Adult
- Barbara Graves

As a kidmin, I have been blessed over the course of 30+ years of ministry to have had some amazing teams of volunteers to serve with me. As a mom, I have been extra blessed that one of my most dependable and capable volunteers has been my daughter, Stephanie, who is now 24.   Having a child serve with you is fun! You can have a live-in kidmin chat going all the time. Brainstorming sessions can happen at any point when you’re both in the same room or driving in the same car.  Once during a freak Atlanta snow storm, we used the day to brainstorm the entire next year’s kidmin series.  And more than once, her twin sister, Stacie, has come into the room where we were so animatedly plotting our next event, series, object lesson or character skit and called us both dorks. 

So, how did I raise a daughter that would serve 
so willingly and effectively alongside me? 

I’m not really sure.  For one thing, I didn’t realize that was what I was doing until it was done.  But in looking back, here are a few things that I think may have had some amount of influence on her attitude toward ministry. 

1.   I love what I do.  I think that, like a lot of Christian life, it is as much “caught” as “taught”.  I loved what I got to do and she could see that in my life, both at church and at home.  When you find what it is that God has created you to do and you are joyfully operating in that, it’s easy for your child to want to do the same.  I did purpose early in my ministry to not complain at home about issues at church.  I determined that I wouldn’t bad-mouth other staff members.  Any issues were handled at church.  I never wanted to give the impression that what I did at church was a show or a front. I tried to live a very consistent life in front of them, both at home and church.

2.   I started young.  The girls, at 3, along with their older brother, Stephen, at 6 were great at filling VBS goodie bags. They learned young that you just plug in and serve;  somewhere. They don’t have memories of not serving.  Almost every event that the church sponsored, found us plugged in and serving in some capacity, however small it might be.
3.  I tried to make it fun.  Don’t force them to do work and be miserable.  Help them find something they will enjoy.  As she became a teenager, Stephanie enjoyed kidmin more and more.  So I made a place for her.  Provide an environment where they can flourish, and see what grows. Much has to do with each child’s personality.  Of course, not everyone ends up in kidmin. As adults, my children are all in different places, spiritually.   Stacie, serves with the women’s ministry at her church.  Stuart plays guitar on the worship team for Momentum, while Stephen wrestles to even believe that there is a God, especially One who would send His own creation to Hell.  So even starting young, doesn’t guarantee they will serve alongside your ministry or even have faith in your God.

I really believe God just had a great amount of love for me when He created Stephanie.  He knew that I would be a little over the edge, and would need a round the clock assistant, who could drink as much coffee as I could and would be willing to wear crazy costumes if it meant a kid would learn that God loves them beyond their wildest dreams. 
He created her for Him, for His glory, and for my sanity.  Thank you, God!

From Stephanie

My mother is Barbara Graves. Therefore, I am very sarcastic and my blood is half coffee. As far back as my memory will take me, my mom has been drinking coffee and teaching children about Jesus. Growing up with a mom grossly devoted to ministry has shaped my perspective on ministry and people. There is a passion rooted deep within her to see children understand and experience the awe inspiring love of Christ. Day in and day out, she lives for it. Seeing her operate in that passion has given me an example of how to live in the anointing that God has for my life; that there are times in ministry when you can’t make everyone happy and that His is the only approval I need. It has also played a huge part in the amazing bond that my mom and I share. We have, even recently, sat in the kitchen at wee hours of the morning, writing skits and laughing till our sides hurt. Now, as an adult, I have the honor to serve side-by-side with her on our lead team, as she continues to teach everyday how to serve God (and people) diligently, selflessly and faithfully. 

Barbara Graves is the Children’s Pastor at Momentum Church in Woodstock, GA.  She has been hanging around children’s ministry and coffee shops for over 30 years.  She has been married to her husband, Chris, for 28 years, has 4 grown kids, Stephen, Stephanie, Stacie and Stuart, and the most adorable granddaughter in the world, Eden-Grae. You can find her on Twitter @Barbaragraves.

Stephanie Graves is Barbara Graves' self-proclaimed favorite child. She heads up Connections/Guest Services at Momentum Church in Woodstock, GA. She loves good food, Braves baseball, time spent with her family and grande americanos (with no room).  You can often find her at Starbucks, singing shamelessly at red lights or at any restaurant where chips&queso are served. You can also find her on twitter: @stephaniegraves.


  1. this is so sweet -- i love this! years ago, i served w/my mom in kidmin and it was some of my most favorite times.

  2. Very fun! I loved hearing a bit more of your story, Barbara. I hope my daughter grows to love the ministry as much as I do. She's 2 now and cheers whenever we are going to church, so that's a good sign, right?

    Lindsey @

  3. that is very cool. It's awesome you get to serve together and laugh together. Thanks for writing :)


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