Kidmin Pastors Try Too Hard

We’ve all been there. We want to provide a great children’s program where students learn to love God and operate in the Holy Spirit. We want to make sure every class is manned with competent teachers. We work hard to plan effective outreaches to reach the community. And we do this all while trying to keep up with all the work involved with keeping up with running one of the largest ministries in the church. But are you trying too hard to juggle all the balls in a way God never expected?

None of these things are wrong. Scripture instructs us to not be weary in well doing. If you do all these things to build the Kingdom of God in the lives of children, you are doing a good work and will be rewarded for it. So what do I mean by trying too hard?

The problem comes when we don’t abide in Christ. If we abide in Christ with all we do, we will be effective and reap a harvest, but if we try to do all these things without abiding in Christ, all we’ll get is tired.

John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

The problem comes when we don’t understand how to abide in Christ. Abiding in Christ isn’t a checklist we do to get God to move in our lives. Abiding in Christ is yielding to His will and allowing Him to move through us. But how do we do this?

138Recognize that without Christ, you can do nothing. It doesn’t matter how great you are as a children’s pastor, how long you’ve been at it, or how skilled you are. Without Christ, you can do nothing of value. Your effectiveness comes from Him.

John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Do what God wants, not what sounds good. Many times, children’s pastors go to conferences, talk to their peers, and read books on children’s ministry to get good ideas on what they should do. None of these things are wrong. But if the latest fad or book is what is driving your ministry, you will be spinning your wheels. Your main job is to find out what God wants you to do in ministry and do it. We show our love for God through our obedience. Sometimes God will use a book or conference to speak, but make sure it is God speaking.

John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Kids studying bibleLove your students. If you are abiding in Christ, your students will know the love of God through you. If you have problems with certain children, ask God to give you His love for them.

1 Corinthians 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

A blue person stands out in a crowd holding a sign with the word God on it, spreading the holy teachings of the church and trying to convert others to a belief or faithRemember that it is God’s ministry, not yours. You did not choose to be a children’s pastor because there was a need in the church or as a stepping stone to “real” ministry. If you are a children’s pastor, it is because God chose you to work through to pastor His children.

John 15:15 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

kid-worship-620x335Be filled with joy. If you are abiding in Christ and doing the ministry He chose you for, then you joy will be complete and you will eventually bear fruit. If you are lacking in joy or in fruit bearing, ask God to show you where you need to abide in Him.

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

10 Tips to Make Recruiting Workers for Kidmin Easier

Group Of Children Playing In ParkRecruiting volunteers for children’s ministry is always a daunting task. Here’s 10 tips to make it easier.

1. Develop friendships. It’s easier to recruit somebody who believes you care about him or her more than you care about what he can do for you.

2. Keep the children before the congregation. Children who are never seen will be forgotten. Find ways to keep children’s ministry in front of the congregation. Give testimonies. Give children a part to play in the adult service. Have children’s choirs and dramas. Find creative ways to remind your congregation how important children’s ministry is.

3. Give regular updates about the good things going on in children’s ministry. People are more willing to volunteer for a ministry if there are exciting things going on.

4. Have your pastor talk about the children’s ministry. If people know children’s ministry is on the pastor’s heart, they will be more likely to volunteer.

5. Have a recruiting drive one month a year. Let the congregation know this is the time to sign up. Give them the option of making a commitment for a certain period of time so they don’t feel like they will be trapped forever in kidmin.

6. Ask for temporary workers. Let the volunteer get his feet wet without having to commit to anything.

7. Ask. Some people will never take the initiative. They’re waiting to be asked.

8. Have job descriptions in writing. Let them know what their responsibilities will be.

9. Have teacher training in place. Don’t use the method of throwing a worker in a room with a teacher manual. Only a few will last past the first month.

10. Have a list of requirements,  and do screening. Let your volunteers know you don’t accept just anyone. Those being recruited want to make a difference. They don’t want to feel like you’ll take any warm body.

5 Essential Roles of a Children’s Pastor

Kids studying bibleEphesians 4:12   Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

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.

Time For Leadership Message Representing Management And AchievementA 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.

FathersDay_1100013101-1013intA 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.

Crossing the Jesus bridgeA 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.

6b2dc-summer2bbible2breadingA 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.

jesus-is-a-good-shepherdA Children’s Pastor is a Shepherd. God assigns pastors to care for His sheep or, in the case of a children’s pastor, His lambs. There are four main responsibilities of a shepherd.

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.

The Highest Calling of a Children’s Pastor

head_christianHeart Knowledge or Head Knowledge: Teaching the Bible systematically to children is important. I go so far to say it’s essential to have children grow up knowing the Word of God. But if all you’re giving your students is knowledge, it’s not enough. Heart knowledge of God is vital.

John 5:39  You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!

Head knowledge will teach students facts, but it will not impart the divine light of God’s living Word, Jesus Christ. When children internalize this divine light, they learn the truth of God’s Word, and it takes root in their hearts.

2 Corinthians 4:6  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

Children don’t just need to know about God. This need to know God and have their own relationship with Him. Too many people have been raised in the church thinking they were right with God because of head knowledge, only to find that wasn’t enough. These are the children who often grow up in the church only to turn their back on God as teens or adults.

Crossing the Jesus bridgeSalvation: Too many ministries focus on helping children know how to be good. It’s important for children to know what God expects from them, but they can never be good enough to please God. Children need to know that they are sinners and that Christ died for them so they could be set free from the curse of sin. He took their punishment. Until they surrender their lives to God, they will never be saved no matter how good they are or how often they attend church. They also need to understand this is more than having head knowledge about God’s gift of salvation or saying a magic prayer. Salvation begins with God’s grace, and ends with a sinner surrendering and yielding to God’s divine light.

Ephesians 2:8  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.

Little boy hugging an old bookChanged Lives: Children need to know that when they are saved, their lives should change and transform. While everyone sins sometimes, a person who has really accepted Christ and become His child should want to please God and stay away from sin. When He does sin, he should be taught to confess that sin, turn to God, and repent. He should be taught that repentance is more than saying your sorry. It’s changing your mind and turning away from sin. If they still are happy living in sin, they are not really saved.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Romans 12:1-2  Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Jesus Christ crown of thorns and nailA Living Sacrifice: Children also need to understand that when they are saved, they’re giving their lives to God. They are surrendering and yielding control of their lives to God. The lives they live are no longer their own.

Romans 12:1-2  Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Revival Celebration 1.2bFullness of Joy: Children who have a heart knowledge of God should be taught how they can expect fullness of joy in their lives. They can live in God’s abundant life of peace, love, hope, faith, and joy. They can expect the favor and direction of God in their lives. They can expect the baptism, gifts, and fullness of the Holy Spirit as children. They should be taught the John Piper quote” God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” When a child gets hold of God in this way, he will never turn from Him. He will want to spend time with God because it is fun.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

John 15:11  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Psalm 16:11  You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Romans 14:17  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Crusade Girl WorshippingRelationship: When a child is saved, he has a right relationship with the God who created the universe. That child can abide or live in His presence. The more we yield to God, the closer our relationship with Him. We can talk to Him through prayer. We can get guidance from Him through the Bible. We can ask Him anything, and He will answer. We can fellowship with Him and come into His presence through praise and worship. When your students have a relationship like this with God, they won’t fall away as teenagers or adults. They will stand firm through trials and temptations, and if they do fall away, they won’t be able to resist God for long before they return to the fold. They will serve and enjoy God all the days of their lives and throughout eternity.

Ephesians 3:16-19  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

crusade-boy-at-altarHighest Calling: This is the highest calling of a children’s pastor, not to teach children about God, but to introduce children to God and help them develop their relationship with Him.

Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Make Your Children’s Ministry Like Disney

Boy with KleenexThere is a lot of pressure for children’s pastors to make there children’s ministries bigger, better, glitzier, funner, more like Disney World. While we should look for ways to engage our students with innovative, exciting new methods, I’m not a fan of turning Kidmin in to Disney Land. I’m not saying we should go back to the days of flannelgraphs, but we need to keep our focus on what’s eternally important. Here are three reasons why you should resist the temptation to become like Disney.

Person Holding Sign Spreading Word of God1. We have a better brand. Disney is a well known brand for children, but there is no way we can compete with them. We cannot spend enough or recruit enough worker to create a Disney like atmosphere in our children’s services. Here’s the good news. We don’t have to because we have something better. We are presenting the Kingdom of God to children every time we meet. When we start becoming convinced what the world has to offer is better than what we have to offer, we need to spend time getting to know the King of Kings and Lord of Lords all over again.

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Joy Key Meaning Enjoy Fun Or Happy2. We have the source of joy. Disney is known for making children happy, but that happiness is fleeting. We can introduce our students to the Holy Spirit, the source of joy. He’s not only our source of joy, but of peace and of righteousness. How could Disney ever compete with that?

Romans 14:17  For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

jesus-with-children3. We foster eternal relationships, not momentary pleasures. Disney is exciting, but fleeting. The relationships we are fostering with our students are eternal. Those relationships aren’t only with children’s workers and the church members, but the most important relationship we can foster with our students is to introduce them to Jesus Christ. That relationship is eternal. Disney won’t help them during the hard times of life. Jesus will. Disney won’t be there throughout their lifetimes. Jesus will. A relationship with Jesus Christ doesn’t only benefit our students throughout their lives. Their relationship with Jesus Christ is eternal.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.