- Item #1: Find better ways to deliberately connect with parents
- Item #2: Seek stronger ways to intentionally build leaders
- Item #3: Get the leadership on board
- Item #4: Do a better job at kid relationships.
It may possibly go without saying, but what I miss the most about being Children's Pastor is the children (duh). Their energy, their joy, their laughter, and, yes, their times of sadness, and their sometimes brutal honesty were things I looked forward to each week. One of our church leaders was puzzled by the whole concept of a dedicated children's minister whose focus was on ministry to the kids. He concluded by saying, "I couldn't do it." That's right...he couldn't. But I could..and did.
God has been good to me in the children's ministries in which I've been involved. I enjoyed greeting the kids as they came in, sometimes even loudly announcing their arrival to everyone (which elicited wide grins). I loved seeing their excitement when I interjected their names on the "Happy Birthday" video segment. I loved circulating through the room during our opening "stations time," asking about their week and often praying with them about a serious situation. I loved to hear them sing their full praises to the Lord. I've attended school programs and watched their faces light up when they see "Teacher Tim." I've brought gifts to hospital rooms and homes. And even today, nearly a year after stepping away from "kidmin", it still warms my heart to hear kids excitedly whisper or call out when they see me. This is the Lord's doing and I have been awesomely blessed.
Was I the perfect model of what the online social media calls "kidmin?" Of course not. If there is a consistent theme I've been trying to get across, it's that I'm always growing, always learning, always trying to do things better. The key word has been "deliberate." A friend of mine, seeing the outline for this series, suggested I had nothing on which to improve upon with kids. I am touched by her observation. To quote a line in time for the holidays: "I really have had a wonderful life." But if I was doing it over, here are some ways I would make things more deliberate, purposeful, and organized:
- Keep a master kid file with birthdays, school info, favorite things, etc. While I found out this information through interaction, I really needed a coherent system to track things better.
- Get a master event list from the school and be diligent to attend concerts and sporting events in which the kids are participating.
- Make it a point to call or visit each child on a regular basis if for no other reason than to say, "I care."
- Work harder and better at remembering names and details. I have to confess that, when our children's ministry had three sets of blond haired older/younger sister duos, I got confused at times. Name tag systems, regularly reviewing attendance sheets, or even asking a colleague to jog a few memory cells will help.