“When God can give you a little glimpse into what’s going on in a kid’s heart, it’s amazing!” Seeing those glimpses is one of the things Dawn Parker enjoys the most about leading her LifeGroup.
Dawn has been leading ChetsKids LifeGroups for 15 years. She started as an assistant leader and the next year took over leading first graders. She’s been doing it ever since. “I’ve found my niche and I haven’t felt any reason to give that up,” said Dawn about her commitment to teaching kids year after year.
First grade was the beginning of the elementary ministry. Dawn said she enjoyed getting to help parents and kids transition into the elementary ministry and helping them understand the truth we want them to learn.
This past month in ChetsKids they’ve been learning about hope… believing something good can come out of something bad. They spent some time talking about how Jesus came back to Jerusalem knowing he would die, because he loves us.
Dawn says she tries to make it personal when sharing with the kids. “It’s my sin that hurt Jesus. He took on that pain because he loves me.”
As she was talking about how she feels when she thinks about how she hurt Jesus, she noticed one of the kids in her LifeGroup getting teary eyed. “He was feeling what I feel when I think of what Jesus went through for me” said Dawn.
That day Dawn texted the kid’s mom to tell her how he’d responded to what they were talking about in LifeGroups. His mom told her he’d accepted Jesus just the other day.
Dawn said “it was obvious the Holy Spirit had worked on him and his heart was truly repentant.” When the parents are involved, Dawn says it shows.
This past Sunday the kid from her LifeGroup as well as two other children from her LifeGroup were baptized. Dawn said, “they come from amazing families whose parents are spiritual leaders in their households.”
Over the years Dawn has seen children give their life to Christ during LifeGroup, at VBS, and in other settings at Chets. She’s led them in gospel conversations and walked with families as they lead their kids to Jesus.
Over the years Dawn has also experienced the difficulties of being a LifeGroup leader. She’s walked with families through medical struggles, emotional struggles, and family challenges. But she loves that she has the opportunity to minister to the whole family.
“I want them to know that somebody loves them just because!” Over the years she’s learned that just showing up is a big deal. To Dawn that means showing up prepared to lead LifeGroup and love on kids. It means showing up consistently week after week so the kids know they can count on you. And it means showing up randomly in kids’ lives, like bringing a popsicle to a kid after they’ve had their tonsils out. Dawn says showing up is how you connect. It’s how you establish relationships and show them they’re loved.
“If a kid can see that someone besides their parents loves them, then maybe they’ll get a tiny drop of the love God has for them.” Dawn says that’s what it’s all about.