5 Reasons to Advance Plan for Sundays

Organize Puzzle Shows Arranging, Managing Or Organizing.

To many children’s pastors are guilty of Saturday night marathons to prepare for their Sunday children’s church lessons. It’s easy to let the time slip away. After all, preparing for children’s church isn’t the only thing on a children’s pastor’s plate. Not to mention, many children’s pastors work second jobs and have families to take care of.

As hard as it might be, Saturday preparation for the following Sunday should consist of only two things: reviewing the material and getting your resources ready. You should spread your lesson preparation out throughout the week into bite size pieces. If Saturday really is the only time you have, try planning for two Sundays this week. Then you’ll be prepared a week in advance from this point forward.

Here are five reasons it is important to advance plan for Sundays:

Order Or Chaos Keys Showing Either Organized Or UnorganizedPreparation: You can’t get the whole gist of what God has prepared for the students in one day.

A Word from the Lord: You need time to seek God so you can have a word from the Lord every time you minister.

hand drawing light bulbCreative Ideas: You may have a creative idea at the last minute. Then you won’t have time to get everything together, and you’ll be frustrated you couldn’t use that awesome idea.

Emergencies: Emergencies do sometimes happen. Then you’ll be spending all night getting ready or you’ll resort to ministry on the fly.

Workers: You won’t be able to recruit other workers to be a part of what you are doing if they have to wait until Saturday night to get their assignments.

6 Ways to Show Your Students You Care

preschool kids and teacherYour students won’t care what programs you have planned for them or how much you teach them about God unless they know you care about them. Here are six ways you can show your students you care about them.

Talk to your students. Get to church early enough to set up long before students arrive. This gives you time to talk to them when they come in. If you’re too busy to hear about their week, they’ll think you don’t care.

Acknowledge birthdays. Everybody wants to know people care enough to acknowledge their birthday. Send a card, or better yet, call them on the special day.

Go to events. There is nothing more exciting for a student than to have their pastor or teacher show up at one of their school events. Let the students know you want to hear about when they have events, and show up.

Visit their homes. This may take a while, but if you visit one to two homes a week, it will make a large impact on your students.

Pray Computer Keys Showing Worship And ReligionPray for them. Don’t only have them raise their hand so you can pray during general prayer times. Write down students’ requests, then follow up the next week letting them know you prayed for them all week.

Praise your students. Every student needs affirmed, especially the ones who act out. Find opportunities to praise each of your students.

Are You Leading Your Own Children to Christ?

Proverbs 22:6  Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Those of us who are busy ministering to the world need to be careful that our priority is to lead our own children to Christ. One third of all pastors say their grown children are no longer actively serving in the church. 40% say their grown children have gone through a period of profound doubt. While we can’t control the decisions our grown children make, we can do everything within our ability to make sure our children decide to be radical Christ followers. Here are some ideas on how to do that.

Cowboy and boyLead by example. Our children know what we are really like. We can be super spiritual at church, but they see us behind closed doors. Live a life that makes your children want to follow after Christ.

Use teachable moments. Look for opportunities to share testimonies with your children or to talk about how the Bible addresses every day situations.

Spend time with them. If you are always ministering to others and never spending time with your own children, they will consider you a hypocrite.

WishingLead your children to Christ. Constantly share the Gospel message to your children, and when they start to ask questions, lead them in the sinner’s prayer. Don’t wait until they are ten, twelve, or fifteen years old. My children were age three and four when they were saved. 85% of all Christians are saved between the ages of four and fourteen, and most who were raised in Christian homes are saved by the age of eight.

Encourage your children to grow in the faith. Read the Bible to them. When they are old enough, teach them to read it. Teach them to pray for themselves and others, and give them opportunities to lead the family in prayer. Have them help you do ministry. Make it so being a disciple of Christ is normal life.

Kids at the Cross of Jesus ChristTeach principles, not rules. Of course you will have rules for your children, but also teach the principles behind those rules. As they grow older, teach them to develop their own convictions based on those principles.

When your children have questions, answer truthfully. Sometimes the answer is, “I don’t know, but I trust God to work things out for the good.”

4 Ways to Pray Intentionally for Your Ministry

Pray Green Computer Keys Showing Worship And Religion

Prayer is essential for ministry. Anyone who tells you they are doing ministry without prayer is not effective. Their ministry may look like a thriving ministry on the outside, but unless it is bathed in prayer, no lasting change can take place.

Although most of us know this and do have a thriving prayer life, sometimes we can get centered on our own ministries instead of prayer for God’s Kingdom to come.

Here’s some ideas to make your prayers more intentional and effective.

8f354-schedulePray for those in your ministry by name. If you have twenty people of less that your ministering to, this seems doable, but what if you have a large amount, you’ll need some planning to accomplish this.

1. Identify your core leaders. These are the people you pray for once a day or at least once a week. Write these names in your prayer journal.

2. Divide the other names up into section so that you pray for each person at least once a year. Have a list in your prayer journal so you can mark off the names as you pray for the people. If you know of a need, move that person to the top of your list.

3. Delegate if your list is too large. There are some ministries so large that even this is not practical. If this is the case, divide the names up and give them to your core leaders. You will pray for the leaders. The leaders will pray for the people.

4. Pray Scripture over the names on your list. Here’s a few Scriptures you can use:

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23
  • Ephesians 1:17
  • John 15:5

Strategic Planning Showing Organizational Business Solutions Or GoalsPray for God’s Plan: Those of us in ministry have a bad habit of looking at what works in other ministries and implementing them into our own. Then we ask God to bless something He didn’t tell us to do.

Seek God’s face and find out what He wants you to do. Our ministry plans will not be effective unless they come from God.

I explain how to do this more in this post: 3 Things You Need to Become an Effective Children’s Minister.

Here’s some ways to pray once you hear from God:

  • Pray for open doors according to Revelation 1:17.
  • Pray that our territory will be expanded according to 1 Chronicles 4:10.
  • Pray for God’s favor according to Psalm 5:12.
  • Pray for God to meet the needs for laborers and resources according to Philippians 4:19.

Pray for other ministries: We sometimes get self-centered in our prayers and only pray for our ministries, but God wants us to expand our borders. As His Kingdom comes in the ministries and lives of others, it will also expand our ministry. Here’s some ideas to expand your prayers.

  • Pray for other ministries within your church.
  • Pray for other churches and ministers within your community.
  • Pray for ministry worldwide.

19aab62856272b861aPray Globally: So often, churches hold pray meetings where we get together to grow our church, our congregation, and pray for the needs of our people. But we are globally the body of Christ. We should pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ wherever they may be.

Some of the best resources for praying globally and for our nation are at Every Home for Christ. Many of these resources are free.

Resolve to pray intentionally, and see how God moves.

5 Ways to Learn to Dream Big in Children’s Ministry

Jeremiah 32:27  I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

God’s calling requires us to dream bigger than anything we can do on our own. Dreaming big is scary. It requires faith. Sometimes it also needs a little nudge. Here are 5 ways to learn how to dream big:

Start with a creative exercise. This will help you think creatively instead of logically. Compare two things that are not alike such as a cat and a refrigerator. When you can come up with 15-20 ways they are alike, you’re ready for the next step.

Ask a question. If you had all the resources, time, energy, and people you needed, what could you do in ministry. Don’t worry about whether you can do them or not. Just write them down. There are no good or bad answers here.

Brainstorm about your list. Maybe you don’t have the resources to do some of the things on the list, but is there a way around that? Could you get a grant or do a fundraiser?

Review each item is light of your ministry’s mission and vision. This is where you might cross some things off the list.

Pray Computer Keys Showing Worship And ReligionAsk God what He wants. Pray about the list you have left, and ask God what He wants you to concentrate on first. What about second? Is there anything God doesn’t want on the list?

4 Ways to Increase Your Leadership Skills

Time For Leadership Message Represents Management And Achievement

Leadership is sometimes thrust upon children’s pastors who don’t have any training in the area. They are called to ministry, and they work great with children, but they don’t have the essential skills to learn how to put a team together, so they end up doing everything themselves.

Here are 5 ways to increase your leadership skills:

Work on Your People Skills. If you have a hard time leading adults, your people skills might need work. Read books on how to influence people.  Study Myers Brigg personality types and how to work with each type. Do things with friends that don’t involve church ministry. These skills will help you become a leader.

Go to Conferences. If your church has you make a ministry budget, include the cost of at least one conference or workshop. The information and skills you’ll receive will be worth the cost. If your church can’t afford to send you to a conference, consider budgeting some of your own money to go to one.

Get Help from Others. Revival Fire for Kids does a children’s ministry consultation service to help churches with their children’s ministries. Consultations are important because, many times, we as leaders can’t see areas we need to improve. Sometimes a fresh trained eye can do wonders.

Stack of vintage books isolated on whiteRead Leadership and Ministry Books. Make a commitment this year to read books you need to improve your ministry and leadership skills. Here are a few of my favorites.

Lead Like Jesus

Leadership 101

Redefining Children’s Ministry in the 21st Century

Rock Solid Kids

Leadership Essentials for Children’s Ministry

10 Great Leadership Books For Children’s Ministry

Stack of vintage books isolated on whiteThere are some wonderful resources out there about leadership in children’s ministry. While I don’t agree with everything in every book listed here, (I agree with most of it), they are guaranteed to challenge you. Here are 10 of my favorites.


1. Children’s Ministry Leadership: The You Can Do It Guide  by Jim Wideman

Practical, hands-on manual for developing an effective children’s ministry. I highly recommend this book especially for new children’s pastors.

2. Children’s Ministry Volunteers That Stick by Jim Wideman

The best book on recruiting and training volunteers ever written.

3. Leadership Essentials For Children’s Ministry  by Craig Jutila

Leadership principles for building a team using the acronym PATH: Passion, Attitude, Teamwork, Honor.

4. The Growing Leader: Healthy Essentials For Children’s Ministry by Craig Jutila

Leadership principles for building a team using the acronym DIVE: Discerning, Influential, Vulnerable, and Exalting.

5. Children’s Ministry In The 21st Century by Craig Jutila, Pat Verbal, and Jim Wideman

Great practical advise on children’s ministry for this generation.

6. Think Orange by Reggie Joiner

This book explains the orange style of family ministry.

7.  Redefining Children’s Ministry In the 21st Century by Becky Fischer

A book about how to help children move in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is a must for pentecostal children’s pastors.

8. The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe

This is a great book to help you understand the Homelander Generation, the generation now in our children’s ministries. Here’s a link to some blog posts about ministering to the Homelander Generation.

9. Fast Forward MBA In Project Management by Eric Verzuh

Effective children’s pastors need to learn and understand the basics of project management of the will eventually crash and burn. But if you haven’t learned the basics of time management yet, I strongly recommend you read and apply this next book first.

10. Beat The Clock: Successful Strategies For Effective Time Management by Jim Wideman

Time Management 101.

Planning for the New Year

Strategic Planning Showing Organizational Business Solutions Or GoalsSome children’s pastors and churches plan for their year in January. Others do it in September. Even if you’re a September planner, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your plans in January. Here’s some tips for planning your year.

Pray. God knows what He wants to accomplish this year through you in your children’s ministry. The most effective ministers follow God’s plan.

Decide your emphasis. You can’t do everything well in one year even if you have elements of various things, so it’s a good idea to emphasis one thing a year. Here’s some themes you may want to choose from:

Evangelizing and Outreach: Plan events to reach out into the community. Have salvation messages in Children’s Church. After you’re sure your students are saved, teach the how to witness to their friends. Have special Fun Sundays to give your students opportunities and incentives to invite their friends to church.

Discipleship: This may be the year you decide to emphasis discipleship to your students. Teach them the importance of learning Biblical principles. Take time to teach children to pray, and have special prayer meetings for children. Also take time to equip you children to do ministry.

Benevolence: You may decide to focus on benevolence this year. Have your children collect food and coats for the poor. Do fundraisers to provide toys for children at Christmas. Take your students to nursing homes to minister. Or you may want to teach your students about missions and give the a missions project to work at.

Worship: Worship is an important part of the Christian life. What better way to start the year than to help students focus on worshipping God with their lives and learning to offer a sacrifice of praise.

Develop Your Team: An important part of an effective children’s ministry is teamwork. Many children’s pastors have a hard time finding workers. If this is true with you, you may want to spend this year developing a team. This link has some tips for recruitment.

Decide What to Teach. Once you’ve decided your theme for the year, decide what you’re going to teach the children. Much of it should be related to the theme. Plan which lessons to teach throughout the year.

Plan Events with a Purpose: Each event you plan during the year should have a purpose. Keep the theme for the year in mind as you plan events. Here’s a link to help.

Decide how to finance your ministry. Now that you have a plan, you need to decide how to finance your plan. Most churches have some kind of budget for children’s ministry. Talk to your pastor about it. If the budget isn’t sufficient, you may have to resort to fundraisers or have people in your church or local businesses sponsor your events.

Schedule your Calendar. Don’t just add the events to your calendar, add things you have to do leading up to events. Give yourself plenty of planning time in case there is an emergency. Here’s a post about planning systems.


Resolutions for Children’s Pastor – #5 Create a Policy Manual

Strategic Planning Showing Organizational Business Solutions Or GoalsA policy manual is something every church should have, but few follow through on this. Here are some good reasons to have a policy manual.

Worker Qualifications:

If you settle for any warm body to work in your children’s ministry, it will cause you more problems than lack of workers. Set the bar higher for those who will minister to the children in your church, and you’ll attract quality people. This goes against the grain, but it works. If you don’t believe me, try it for one year. Let the congregation know only those who meet the qualifications need apply. Mention that you’re doing this because you want only the best working with the children, and see what happens.

One qualification should be that only those who are fully devoted Christ followers can work in children’s ministry. No matter what, don’t compromise on this. Someone who is a carnal Christian or who plays games with Christianity is not someone you want your students looking up to as role models.

Other qualifications can include church membership, water baptism, devotional life, screening, and mandatory teacher training.


It’s so much easier to tell a parent whose bringing a child with a 103° fever into your class that you can’t accept the child if you have a written church policy in place. Parents can handle you saying you have to follow the church policy rather than you don’t want their child there.


Safety policies need to be in place. These include teacher/student ratios for each age group. If a teacher has too many student to handle, with a policy in place, she can alert an usher who knows what to do.

Another good policy that is needed is what to do with restroom breaks. No child should wander around the church hallways unsupervised. For nursery, you’ll want policies for how to change a diaper. Rubber gloves and a bleach spray bottle should be standard for every church nursery.

One of the most important policies to have in place is how we release children to adults. It used to be we could just let the children go when church was out. That’s no longer the case. With so many divorces and estranged parent, not to mention predators, we need to be careful how we do this.


Attracting parents is a great reason to have a policy manual. Parents want to know you’re taking care of their children properly. They’re more likely to attend a church they trust with their children.

Church Growth:

You may think you don’t need those policies in place because you’re a small church. It’s easier to put policies in place and get church members use to them while your small. Then you’ll be ready for church growth.

Child Abuse:

Every church needs a written child abuse policy. This isn’t just a good idea. It’s vital to protect your students, your workers, and your church. Here’s some things you’ll need to include.

Screening For Workers: Every worker in your church needs to be interviewed and asked hard questions. They also need to have a background check. Every worker – even Aunt Emma who has been at your church since she was a baby. There’s a reason for that. If your church is ever sued because a worker abuses a child, they’ll ask if all workers have been screened and had a background check. If they have, the suit probably won’t hold up in court.

Report Every Sign of Abuse: Stress this to your workers. It doesn’t matter if they think the child might be accusing someone to get attention or if they think they may be overreacting. That’s not the worker’s call. Child abuse agencies investigate every case and if there’s nothing to it, they don’t mind being put to the trouble. That’s what they’re there for.

Have a policy about how to report possible abuse. That means you either have the worker make the call and report to you what happened or you have the worker come to you and you make the call. Which ever you decide to do, make sure somebody calls the proper agency.

If you don’t know where to start, Revival Fire For Kids has a complete Children’s Ministry Policy Manual download is available to buy for a small price at this link.

Children’s Pastor Resolutions – #4 Disciple Children

Discipling children is one of the most important goals worth pursuing in children’s ministry. Children need more than learning Bible stories, and they shouldn’t stop at salvation. We need to disciple children to be Christ followers and to be a vibrant part of the church as children.

Discipleship won’t happen unless you make a deliberate effort and plan to do it. It’s also important to remember that discipleship includes both teaching and opportunities for ministry.

A discipleship plan should include the following elements:

  • You do, they watch.
  • You do, they help.
  • They do, you help.
  • They do, you watch. 

Here are a few post to help you develop that plan:

Children’s Ministry: Discipling or Entertaining

Heart Knowledge

A Children’s Pastor is a Mentor