Most children’s ministers would say, if asked, that they desire their ministries to be effective in the Kingdom of God. They want to make a lasting impression on the students they reach. Books, blog posts, and magazines on children’s ministry all promise to have the secret to an effective children’s ministry. Most have helpful information, but children’s ministers struggle to know they are making a difference.
As impossible as it is to believe, there is a formula out there for being effective in the Kingdom of God. There are only three essential things you need to do to become effective in children’s ministry. If you do these, everything will fall into place.
My Story: Before I tell you what the formula is, let me explain how I learned it. When I became a children’s pastor, I had no formal training, no mentoring, and I’d only worked in children’s ministry for a few months. Basically I didn’t know what I was doing. At first, I thought I was placed in this position because the church needed help, and I was available. It wasn’t until almost a year later that I knew I was called to children’s ministry.
Years later, over 50% of those children in my first children’s church class are in full time or part time ministry today. Most are living for God and working in their local churches. So how did I manage to become an effective children’s minister with a ministry that grew and children who became fully devoted disciples of Christ?
It wasn’t what I knew. Later on, I would study and go to conferences. I would read the books and learn how to “do” children’s ministry. I even spent years studying and getting advanced certification in Children’s Ministry. But back then, I was clueless.
It wasn’t because I had tons of resources or workers. I lacked workers just like everyone else, and my church had so little money, I asked parents for donations so that I could buy a $30 manual. Within a year or two, I had a sound system, television, a few puppets, and some cassette music tapes donated to me. I didn’t have enough for curriculum, so I started writing my own.
So are you curious now? Here are the three things I did that made me successful when I had nothing else going for me.
1. I spent time in the presence of God. Every day, I would wake up early. I’d read my Bible and I’d pray. I also fasted once a week. And I got rid of everything in my life that hindered my walk with God.
2. I asked God what He wanted me to do next. I learned what programs worked and what teaching was effective by asking God, “What do you want me to do next?” He would tell me, then later, I found out the things I was doing were considered radical and cutting edge. People were amazed, but it wasn’t me. It was God.
3. I obeyed God. I did what He said, not only when it was easy, but when it was hard. Sometimes He would want me to jump out of the boat when all I had to walk on was water. Other times, He would tell me to be patient and hold off on something until He knew the timing was right. I’d like to say I always did this. Sometimes I failed. But things went so much better when I obeyed God.
You may be thinking it couldn’t be that easy. It’s not easy, but it is simple.
By the way, now that I have all the learning and experience and have started my own ministry, I’ve found the best ways to be an effective children’s ministry consultant, evangelist, and workshop leader are the same things that helped me be an effective children’s minister.
When I stray from doing these things and rely on what “I know”, everything looks good on the outside, but the effectiveness begins to wane. Things just seem off. Soon I find myself repenting before God and returning to where I began.
I have however added one step.
- Spend time with God.
- Ask God what He wants you to do.
- Obey God.
So now you know my secret.