A children’s pastor wears many hats. He has to be an administrator, a project manager, a pastor, a teacher, a visionary, and a event planner. All of this can be exhausting. However, there are five essential roles of a children pastor that need to remain a priority.
A Children’s Pastor is a Leader. Biblical leadership is different than worldly leadership and is a hat a children’s pastor must wear. Biblical leadership is servant leadership. You serve God by following the example of Christ and leading others through example, integrity, and love.
A leader also has a responsibility to receive a vision and direction from God and to communicate it to those on his team. As a servant leader, he should look to his team for ideas of how to implement the vision, but God has given him the role to cast the vision for children’s ministry. One word of caution, any vision God gives you should fit within the senior pastor’s vision for the church.
A leader is an administrator. As children’s pastor, it is your responsibility to put together a team to plan, organize, set goals, and carry through on the vision God has given you.
A Children’s Pastor is a Mentor. Another word for mentor is guide or coach. They take time to equip their students, the children’s ministry team under their care. This is a daunting task if you try to mentor everyone. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Jesus had many followers but only twelve disciples. He spent most of His time pouring into three of those twelve – John, Peter, and James. Most of his mentoring wasn’t done in church meetings or special conferences. He took his disciples with him and mentored using teachable moments as He went about ministering. Mentor those God places in your path as you are ministering, and teach them to do the same. This will multiply the leadership in your ministry.
A Children’s Pastor is an Evangelist. It’s great to minister to the children in your church, but what have you done to develop a children’s ministry that reaches out to unsaved children? You can do this with special events and community outreaches, but that isn’t the only way to evangelize. Make sure the students under you hear and understand the Gospel and give them opportunities to make decisions for Christ. Then teach them how to share the Gospel and send them out to evangelize their friends.
A Children’s Pastor is a Teacher. There is a movement in children’s ministry that troubles me. Among some, the Word of God is not being taught to children. Instead they’re entertained by elaborate gospel illusions and games or they’re taught Bible stories and Bible truths in a watered down fashion. Sometimes the stories don’t even come from the Bible but from video clips that teach values.
There’s nothing wrong with these methods if their main goal is to teach God’s Word to children in a way they can understand and accept. The problem is not in the methods but when the methods become more important than the message. God uses His Word to equip His people. We, as children’s pastors, need to teach God’s Word to children to equip them. If we don’t, we raise a generation of people who have gone to church all their lives but don’t know God, His Word, or His power.
A shepherd feeds his lambs. We do this by preaching the Word. Don’t water down the Gospel for children. Teach them the full measure of Scripture using methods they can understand.
A shepherd protects the flock. God expects you to protect the lambs He’s placed under you. This means spiritually by teaching the sound doctrine, but it also means physically. Protect them from those who may wish to harm them by having worker screening and policies in place. Teach your workers, not only how to teach, but how to recognize signs of abuse and what to do about it, and how to administer first aide.
A shepherd knows his flock. It’s important to develop a relationship with the lambs under you. One of the best ways to do that is to set up regular times to visit and call the child in your ministry, but it goes further than that. When a child in your ministry has a special event like a concert or a game, do your best to attend. If a child is in the hospital or has another crisis, be there. In other words, love your students enough to take the time to be a part of their lives.
A shepherd prays for his flock. Follow the example of the Apostle Paul, and pray daily for the lambs God has entrusted to you. Here’s a great prayer from scripture to pray over children.
I Thessalonians 3:10-13 (ICB) And we continue praying with all our heart for you night and day. We pray that we can see you again and give you all the things you need to make your faith strong. We pray that our God and Father and our Lord Jesus will prepare the way for us to come to you. We pray that the Lord will make your love grow more and more for each other and for all people. We pray that you will love others as we love you and that your hearts will be made strong. Then you will be holy and without fault before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy people.