Monday, June 20, 2011


One of the questions (aka “veiled suggestions”) that has often come up in my years as a children’s ministry director/children’s pastor is: “why don’t you get a bunch of volunteers and rotate the teaching each week, so you don’t have to do it all the time?”

On the surface, it seems like a reasonable solution to a common problem. If you rotate the teachers, you won’t overburden any of them. And if you do it weekly, your teachers won’t be out of the “main service” too long. It seems entirely logical; indeed, many churches have a weekly rotation of their teachers. In fact, our church used to have a weekly rotation.

But I have become convinced that this kind of weekly shuffling of teachers is counter-productive to effective children’s ministries, because it works against the expectation of consistency. We will deal with the three main difficulties of weekly rotations: Inconsistent Preparation, Inconsistent Presentation, and Inconsistent Participation, and then we’ll wrap everything up with some final thoughts and suggestions.

Now let me throw out some clarifications, caveats, and disclaimers:

1. I’m assuming a large group, children’s church type of setting, and not a separate, dedicated, graded Sunday School type class.

2. The teacher is the main presenter of the lesson. We’re not primarily talking about helpers, song leaders, support volunteers, and so on.

3. The church is a “single service” church; that is, there is no opportunity to teach one hour, then attend the main service the next hour (“ah-hah”, my larger church brethren are saying.“That’s why this is a problem!”)

4. There is a backstory as to how and why I have come to these conclusions. I’ll be sharing it at a future date (it won’t be as dramatic as the E True Hollywood Story, but there might be a few children’s pastors who can relate).

5. The views expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not necessarily reflect those of the leadership, staff, or members of my church.

And of course, I welcome your comments. I would be particularly interested in how your church handles rotations, particularly if you have just one service. My word is certainly not the final one on rotations. When all is said and done, I'm a still a student of children's minsitries, so we can learn from one another.

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