Thursday, November 15, 2012


After 19 years of periodic children's ministry opportunities and 15 years as a regular Children's Pastor, I've often wondered what I would do differently. Being let go from children's ministries and being ever the student, I've asked myself this question in all seriousness. These are not the final answers, but they do represent a start.
Children's Ministry as we know it today is a relatively new development.  Pioneers in the field remember 30 years ago when few, if any, churches had an actual children's pastor.  The first INCM Children's Pastors Conference in 1980 brought out a whopping 35 people! Today, many Bible colleges are offering programs in children's ministries and the CPC attracts participants in the thousands.
Unfortunately, one of the testimonies among children's ministry professionals is that the leadership of their church doesn't "get it."  It doesn't mean they are opposed to children's ministry or they don't see its importance.  It's just that the idea of a dedicated professional or formal program just for children is an unusual idea to them.
But church leadership, no matter its configuration (pastor and elders, deacon board, whatever), must be on board for a children's ministry to succeed.  As the Children's Pastor in our church, I tried various ways to inform the board of the church about what we were doing.  Like all the areas in our series, it was an area of growth; meaning, I didn't do everything consistently or deliberately or always effectively.  But if I was doing it over, here are some principles I'd put into practice.
  • Find out what the leadership's expectations are for children's ministry.  If, for example, they are envisioning a glorified babysitting service and you're thinking interactive 3-D surround sound Bible adventures, there could be a lack of communication.  Make it clear.
  • Cast vision.  Make sure the leadership can see, smell, taste what the children's ministry will look like.
  • Be accountable. Depending on the leadership structure, make sure there is someone to report to and who will serve as your advocate and champion to the rest of the leadership (there is nothing lonelier than standing alone).
  • Ask for remuneration.  This sounds  crass and unspiritual, but hear me out.  Not only is it Biblical to pay those who labor in the Word (1 Timothy 5:17-18), but we tend to place a higher value on what we have to pay for. If the subject of pay has never come up, the services provided may not be worth that much in the leadership's thinking.
  • Regularly relate the activities and successes of the children's ministry programs to the other ministries of the church. Touch bases with other ministry leaders, not only to get excited about what they are doing, but to find out connecting points with children's ministries.

What is the relationship between children's ministry and your church leadership?  How can it be better?  I'd love to hear your feedback.

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