Mike & Marilyn Seth
OUR STORY: We believe that "GOD IS IN A GOOD MOOD" and children are naturally drawn to a loving Father God. All children were created by an adoring and loving God who wants them to share in His joy and presence. He desires that His kids know, hear, and see Him.
"It didn't matter . . . we were ministering to children" For several years, my wife and I did all that we could to help our small church create a children's ministry. It started in the church parking lot, then we moved to a small side room and finally to the pastor's living room. Over the next year and a half, our hearts, passion, and love for children’s ministry grew and correspondingly our “facility” also grew. This took the form of a small, empty house next to the church. We later found out the place was soon to be condemned by the city and was supposed to be bulldozed. It didn’t mater that the house leaked, had no heat, or air conditioning during the 110 degree summers, we were ministering to children.
It was a wonderful time that prepared us for more.
God speaks: "The children have no friends in this world . . . "
A short while later on a Saturday afternoon, as I was lying on my bed, praying about the next day’s service, the room suddenly got very warm and I could sense God’s presence. Next, I heard in a clear voice, “Mike, the children have no friends in this world, I am their only Friend, I am their best friend.” Hot tears gushed as I sobbed. The Father had touched my heart with His intense and yearning heart for children. That day my heart was branded with the Father’s love.
The Vision, the foundation
Now, some twenty-five years later, it was that calling from the Father's Heart and hearing how He felt about His children which has served as the foundation in everything we have done and will ever do regarding children's ministry.
In the beginning . . . Willie George!
It all started when our oldest son, Micah, was three years old. Marilyn and I would take turns walking our toddler in the church parking lot during services as there was no children’s ministry. We were so excited to be part of this little church of 50 people and offered to help with whatever was needed. When the pastor’s wife asked if we would like to be Sunday school teachers, we replied, “Sure” (since we were missing out on half of the services anyway). She said, “Great”, pulled out a binder entitled, “Faith Roots” by Willie George, and thus, our “training” was complete.
The next Sunday found Marilyn and I in a little 10x10 side room next to the sanctuary. Nine children, including our son, sat on the floor looking up at me as I read the lesson about “Barney the Banana”. My hands trembled, and my eyes never left the page as I read to those very “intimidating” children. The fact that I had contracted pneumonia earlier that week only added to the experience. The lesson ended with us sharing “Barney” for the morning snack. Little did we know that day was our clarion call into a well-concealed destiny, and was well short of a “writing in the sky”, or “talking donkey” experience.
Sunday after Sunday we continued to “expand” our ministry—to the pastor’s living room down the road from the church. Our “flock” was transported in two old station wagons. The facility served us well as the pastor’s recliner provided the much needed puppet stage.
Children have a full-grown Holy Spirit
As we continued to be faithful to the “call”, God would entrust to us some of the deepest treasure He holds in His heart: His love and affection for His children. We soon discovered that children, though young, possess a full-grown Holy Spirit. They could receive and be released to do anything Jesus said we could do. Accompanying this revelation, we were learning how to teach truths from God’s Word in fun, captivating ways. Thank you, Willie George! As we gathered the treasure of God’s heart, and experienced how to minister to children, we had a growing desire to give it away to others.
We began to put together one day workshops. Off we’d go to small valley and mountain churches in Northern California, and teach away from our little cut and pasted manuals. It was exciting, and an honor to impart to and encourage such dedicated volunteers who would rarely have an opportunity attend a major children’s leadership conference.
Christ for the Nations!
After several years we reached a plateau. Our hearts had expanded, our vision was growing, but we felt we needed more. At one of the most frustrated moments in my life, the Lord spoke clearly in a near-audible voice, “I want you to go to Christ for the Nations.” We were familiar with this Spirit-filled bible school in Dallas, Texas. Our best friends were already there, and it was one of the few places that taught Charismatic children’s ministry.
Preparing our hearts for the future
Marilyn and I counted the cost to go which meant quitting my job, selling our house, etc., etc., etc. We were in agreement. We felt if I was called then our entire family was called as well. We sat down with our five and ten year old sons and explained that God has invited us to go on a great adventure. We helped them count the cost as well, and they understood. We shed tears together as we said goodbye to grandmas and grandpas, and our dog, “Pippens”, and set out for bible school in late December, 1989.
It was one of the best times of our lives. CFNI was all that we had hoped for—and more. What we experienced truly prepared our hearts for the future. Worship was off the charts, Holy Spirit impartation was incredible, and we received a throne-room view of the Body of Christ and the nations. We even got to go on a missions trip and minister together as a family.
1991 found us back at our home church in Redding, California with a big vision, great ideas, and a fresh anointing. However, a few short months later the church dissolved.
Many of us found our way to Bethel Church.
It wasn’t long before Marilyn and I were involved in the children’s ministry on a part-time basis. For several years, once again, God was preparing us for the next chapter of our lives that would literally create an “open heaven”.
We knew that life was about to change
When Bill and Beni Johnson came to Bethel as senior pastors, the stage was being set for a major shift, a change in the spiritual climate, and a significant rearrangement of the “landscape”. In the very early stages of “Renewal” Bill hired me as the children’s pastor. As excited as I was to be a full-time minister to children, I, along with everyone else was entering uncharted territory. To add to this excitement, not everyone embraced the change, as I came in, most of the children’s ministry passed me on their way out. I was being asked to lead a young generation in the realm of revival—without any blueprints, or framework to follow. One thing was for sure—life as we knew it was about to change.
God speaks again:
"I want to raise a prophetic generation."
After several weeks of earnestly seeking and praying for direction, I heard God’s voice. He said, “I want to raise a prophetic generation”. Wonderful! God spoke to me! But I had absolutely no clue what it meant!
Each week services at Bethel became encounters with God’s manifest presence. Miracles, deliverances, and healings were witnessed along with laughter in the Spirit, and other dignity-defying experiences of joy. These phenomenon were the result of heaven depositing an amazing grace gift: an outpouring of the Father’s love. Accompanying this “Open Heaven” were the incredible revelations of the Kingdom that Bill Johnson would impart.
They heard His voice, and discovered who they were.
I now had a plan. And it was simple (it usually is when God is involved). I would begin to gather the deposits of heavenly activity and revelations and give it to our children. I felt the children deserved the same fresh “manna” that their parents were enjoying. As our young people began to encounter God’s presence, the transformation was amazing. They learned to recognize and become intimate with the Father’s love.They heard His voice, and discovered who they were.
Each week we would hear testimonies of what God was doing through our children in their homes, schools, and playgrounds. As His children, they became confident, they began to prophesy, and lay hands on the sick as their hunger for Papa God increased. Each week we would hear testimonies of what God was doing through our children in their homes, schools, and playgrounds. God was convincing me that there were no truths or values of His Kingdom that could not be received and carried by children. They were created for revival!
Kids in His Presence is born
Wanting to “give away” what we were receiving, Marilyn and I began to create teaching resources that captured Kingdom truths and principles. They were short, colorful, easy to use and “God Friendly” (God’s presence would be invited). Over the past few years we have seen God use these materials in many nations, cultures and generations (adults like them as well). Now there is a book by Mike and Bill Johson, "Here Comes Heaven" that serves as a guide for young people to learn how to bring the realm of Heaven to earth. In addition, there is a complete curriculum set that works well for Wednesday nights or Sunday morning classes.
A global vision
What started in a tiny room with nine small children has grown to a global vision: To raise a young generation that would bring the Kingdom Heaven to earth. It involves creating curriculum for children, and resources that can reproduce and train leaders. It means connecting with other ministries and networks, converging to facilitate a true transformation… nations turning to Jesus. It is a vision that would bring a new paradigm to orphanages - to raise Daniels and Danielles that would influence their countries. It is a massive vision so much bigger than myself, but well worth spending the rest of my life pursing. It is a vision you are invited to be a part of.
Mike & Marilyn
"Mike and Marilyn Seth set the course for our children's ministry that we still enjoy to this day. It is revolutionary in nature that they begin with the belief that the Holy Spirit in a child's life is as powerful as He is in an adult's life. That conviction has brought forth lasting fruit to the glory of a God, and has set children on an irreversible course of impacting the course of world history. It is with great pleasure that I endorse these dear friends and ministers of the Good News."
- Bill Johnson
Bethel Church, Redding, CA