Seven Ways to Know You’re Spiritually Dehydrated

Jeremiah 2:13 (NKJV)  For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.

As children’s pastors, it’s important to keep filling ourselves up. If we continue to pour out without pouring in, we can become spiritually dehydrated and start drinking from broken cisterns. Broken cisterns are things that satisfy us or keep us going for the moment but don’t fill us up or satisfy our thirst. We need instead to drink living water.

Here are 7 ways to know you are spiritually dehydrated.

You have disengaged. Church life is meant to do together. When we are drinking from the living waters of the Holy Spirit, we will want to engage with the church body. When we disengage from the body of Christ, it’s one sign we are spiritually dehydrated.

Your emotions are blunted. If you seem to be in a daze, and you don’t feel the presence of God anymore, that is a sign you might be spiritually dehydrated.

You’ve lost your hope. What do you put your hope in when you wake up in the morning? What are you looking forward to? If you can’t answer, you may be spiritually dehydrated.

You feel helpless. Depression is widespread in our culture today. We now know that most depression has a physical component to it. If you feel helpless and depressed, you should see a medical professional. That being said, the more you are spiritually dehydrated, the more you are susceptible to feeling of hopelessness and depression.

You don’t want to spend time reading your Bible, praying, or worshiping. It becomes a chore. That is a sign of being spiritually dehydrated.

You don’t have any joy. The joy of the Lord is your strength. If your joy has been sapped, it shows you need to be filled from the living fountain.

You are going through the motions. All of the things above can cause us to lose out sense of purpose. When that happens, you can come to the place where you are running on empty. You need your spirit refreshed with living waters from the throne room of God.

What to do if you are spiritually dehydrated:

First admit the truth to God, yourself, and your spiritual leaders or mentors. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. Many spiritual leaders have gone through this dark night of the soul. I have. That’s why I can show you what to do. After your leaders know the situation and are covering you in prayer, ask God to fill you with His living waters. Ask Him to fill the dry places of your soul. Spend time saturating yourself in the presence of God. Play worship music. And wait. It might take some time, but God will fill you to overflowing.

Acts 3:19 (NKJV) Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

John 7:38 (NKJV) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (NKJV)  For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 5:18 (NKJV)  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.

Frustrations In Children’s Minsitry: Senior Pastors

There are times when the greatest frustration a children’s pastor has is the senior pastor of the church. This is the most frustrating because this is the person God has placed in authority over you. When you go against your senior pastor, even if he’s in the wrong, you are going against God. So what is the right way to handle this frustration?

Remember the senior pastor’s vision is not only for the children’s ministry but for the entire church. Your vision should support his, not the other way around. Sometimes that means the children’s ministry will have to be on the back burner while another ministry is promoted. You need to be an advocate of the children’s ministry, but at times, you swallow your pride. and allow the senior pastor to make the decision.

Ask your pastor what you can do to help him fulfill his vision. It may be that he wants visitation to be a large part of growing the church. If you don’t know this, you might be spending so much time with other methods, you never visit the children in your ministry. You might inadvertently be the source of the problem.

Pray for your senior pastor. Pray for him, not that he’ll do what you want. Pray God gives him the wisdom to lead effectively.

If you don’t agree with your pastor, do what he wants anyway. Don’t grumble. Don’t complain. Don’t tell others that you disagree. Do it as unto the Lord. Let God work it out if he’s wrong.

Ask God to show you where you’re at fault. If you need to repent or to ask the pastor’s forgiveness, do it as quickly as possible. Don’t go against the man God has put in authority over you.

If you can’t submit the senior pastor’s leadership, it’s time to move on to another church. Do it in the right way. Don’t badmouth him. Part ways as peaceably as possible. Take the high road, and God will lead you to where He wants you to be.

Frustrations In Children’s Minsitry: Not So Well Meaning People

Sooner or later, every minister and every Christian comes across someone who comes against them with a vengeance. I’m not talking about a person who means well but just doesn’t understand. I’m talking about someone who means you harm. This is an attack from the enemy. Sometimes the person will use outright attacks. More often he or she will go behind the scene to attack your character and right to lead with gossip, innuendo, and outright lies. Unfortunately many times, this person will be or claim to be a Christian. Sometimes the attack will come from a friend. Whatever the case, it will happen, and when it does, it will devastate you. Here’s what to do when it does.

Recognise the spirit behind it. This is not a personal attack. It’s a spiritual attack. Don’t pray against the person being used. Pray against the spirit behind it.

Ephesians 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Understand it happens to everyone. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, his disciple and one of his best friends. When this happened, his other friends deserted him. He understands the pain. Give it to him.

Pray for the offender. This is essential to allow God to move on your behalf.

Matthew 5:44-45  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven…

Do not take offense. When you allow offense to take root in your heart, you’re giving a foothold to the devil. Let go of the offense, not for the offender’s sake, but for your sake. 

Ephesians 4:26-27  Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. 

Communicate with your senior pastor. It’s important when a situation like this happens that you let your senior pastor know what’s going on. It’s up to him how he wants to handle it, but he needs to know the information to decide what to do about it.

Let God defend you. 

2 Chronicles 20:15  This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 

Isaiah 59:19  …When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

Remember that God is on your side. Don’t defend yourself. Let God defend you.

Frustrations In Children’s Ministry: Lack Of

One of the greatest frustrations in children’s ministry is lack of funds, resources, and workers. But this should not be. Our God owns a cattle on a thousands hills, and He can provide what we need.

Lack of Funds:

Lack of funds in this economy is a very real issue that faces all ministries including children’s ministries. Here’s some idea to increase your funding.

Ask your pastor for a regular budget even if it’s a small amount. If you can count on a certain amount of money coming in, no matter how small, it will help you figure out how to meet your needs.

Plan a budget based on what you believe God wants you to do, not on what you think you can afford. If you obey God, He will provide your needs according to His riches in glory. Take a step of faith, and start believing that.

Plan fundraisers to supply funds for the budget. For this, think out of the box. Get some creative people together for a planning session. Here a link to give you some ideas.

Find Prayer Sponsor who will provide prayer and funding for the children in your church. To find out more about how to do this, click this link.

Apply For Grants and ask Christian businesses to contribute to your children’s ministry. This is especially helpful for outreach. There are many sites on the web that teach how to apply for grants.

Give. Don’t hoard the money the comes in to children’s ministry. Teach children to give to missions and other outreach ministries by setting the example.

Pray. John 14:14 says If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Lack of Resources:

Make a list of the resources you need. Include everything you need or want for children’s ministry on the list. Don’t hold back. Then prioritize the list according to what you need first, than second, etc.

Let your needs be known. There maybe someone in the congregation who knows someone who has what you need. By letting your needs be known, you may receive what you have on your list from unlikely places.

Look for bargains. Don’t be afraid to scout Ebay, thrift stores, and yard sales. Let God lead you to the places you can find resources.

Ask larger churches and ministries if they are getting rid of the supplies you need.

Have the children pray for your needs. I once needed a new sound system. The old one was terrible. It squeaked and went in and out during children’s church. But the children’s ministry didn’t have the money to replace it. Every week I would have the children pray for a new sound system. Every time the sound system cut out, I would say “Lord, give us a new sound system” in front of the children. In two months time, someone came to me with a new sound system they had bought but never used. This increased the children’s faith. We spent the next service thanking and praising God and teaching about how God answers prayer.

Lack Of Workers:

Don’t lower your standards. Sometimes children’s pastors are tempted to lower their standards because they can’t get enough workers. This is a mistake. No matter how tempted you are, trust God to provide quality people.

Make a list of all the workers you need. Don’t limit yourself to only the workers you must have. Include on your list everyone you could use if there were enough workers to do everything you want to do.

Use children as workers. Here’s a link that talks more about this.

Make recruiting a year long process. Here’s a link about how to recruit workers.

Pray for workers. Matthew 9:38 Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

There should be no lack in ministry. If we trust God to provide where we lack, He will meet our needs.

Frustrations In Children’s Ministry: Well Meaning Parents

One of the biggest frustrations children’s pastors have is well meaning parents. Here’s some examples.

  • Parents who are hit and miss about the children’s attendance.
  • Parents who expect children’s pastors to be responsible for children’s spiritual growth.
  • Parents who put sports and other activities above church.
  • Parents who punish children by not allowing them to attend church events.
  • Parents who have constant complaints about how you run the children’s ministry.
  • Parents who allow children to stay up late, don’t feed them breakfast, and bring them to church hungry and tired.

It’s difficult to deal with parents like these, but there are some guidelines you need to remember. First, parents are the ones who are responsible to God for their children. You, as the children’s pastor, should never circumvent the parent’s authority or try to take the place of the parent. You are there to assist the parent. You can do this in the following ways.

Pray for parents. Parents have difficult jobs raising children in the world today. The best thing you can do is pray for them and to let them know you’re praying for them.

Recognize that even though parents make mistakes, even the worst parents love their children and want what’s best for them. Tell parents what they’re doing right or that you know what a difficult job they have.

Open House and Open Door. A great way to develop a team effort between parents and children’s pastors is an open door policy. Invite parents to visit children’s church and classes to observe whenever they want. Also have special open houses where parents are invited to be a part of children’s church. For safety reasons, remind parents they’re there to observe only, and always have an adult children’s worker present.

Communicate with parents. Let them know what’s happening in children’s ministry and successes you have with their children. One of the best ways to communicate with parents is to get to know them. Build a relationship with them.

Give parents resources to help them. Have resources available when parents ask for help with devotions or helping their children grow spiritually. But also have resources available for other needs. There are books, pamplets, and organizations that help parents with problems such as AHDD, learning disabilities, discipline problems, and other special needs. You could also have resources available for free health care, school supplies, housing, and other financial needs. One great resource is a fun day for kids on occasion that allows parents to take advantage of free babysitting.

Invite parents to help. This is a great way to get parents on board as a part of the team. They may not be teachers, but they might want to help as monitors, or as extra help at children’s ministry events. They might even have skills that will benefit you such as sewing, computer, secretarial, carpentry, photography, audio/technical, cooking, baking, etc. Make sure to have a screening policy in effect before doing this. Not all parents should work with children.

With a little effort, the parents in your children’s ministry will be on board and consider you a part of the team. When that happens, you’ll have the ability to help the parents see what they can do to help you minister to their children.

Frustrations In Children’s Ministry: Well Meaning Parishioners

There are many frustrations in children’s ministry. Most don’t have to do with children, but with the perceptions adults have that put roadblocks in the way of the hard working children’s pastors. This week I’m doing a series on some of these frustrations. Today is well meaning parishioners.

A well meaning parishioner comes downstairs and says, “You missed a great service. It’s a shame you had to be downstairs with the children.” A great way to counteract this is to tell the parishioner what a great service he missed and talk for fifteen minutes about the triumphs and successes you’ve had recently in children’s church. It may not help the parishioner “get it”. He may walk away with a confused look on his face. But he probably won’t say that to you again.

A well meaning parishioner comes to you to thank you for babysitting the children so the adults can enjoy service. This may be the right time to explain in a polite way that you’re not a babysitter. These children are developing relationships with God at an early age, and you’re blessed to be a part of what God is doing in their lives. Invite the parishioner to come see what happens every week in children’s ministry. It might open his eyes.

A well meaning parishioner says he doesn’t understand why the church wastes time with children’s church now days. In his day, children sat with their parents, and they knew they better behave. You may not be able to reason with this parishioner. But you can reassure him that you are not watering down the gospel in children’s church. You are doing your best to minister to these children in a way that draws them into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

Why go to all the trouble to educate these well meaning parishioners? Most of them won’t get it when you’re done. Some of you might wonder if it’s not better to ignore these people. I don’t believe it is. As a children’s pastor, one of your jobs is to be an advocate for children’s ministry and to educate the congregation as to what happens in children’s ministry and why it’s an important ministry for people to invest time and money into.