Advice For New Children’s Pastors

Children’s ministry is a daunting calling. Most of the time, when adults are called to this important ministry, they have very little training and no mentors to help them. This is one reason I began this blog.

To further help you, I asked for advice from veteran children’s pastors for those starting out in children’s ministry. Here’s the answers I got. Be sure to visit their blogs and websites. Just click on thier names.

Sam Luce, Children’s Pastor at Mt. Zion Ministries Church in New York

Pray, read, listen, learn, network and cast a clear, compelling vision that is greater than you bigger than your organization.

Amy Dolan, Executive Director for Willow Creek Children’s Ministries in Chicago, Illinois

Empower and lean into your most loyal volunteers to help you cast vision, recruit, and train others.

Aaron DeLay

Patience. Understanding. A poker face. You gotta have ’em all.

Spencer Click, Children’s Pastor at Bethel Temple Assembly of God in Ohio

Go buy – Volunteers that Stick & The Children’s Ministry Leadership you-can-do-it guide by Bro. Jim. Then get a membership to The Club…that should help. After you’ve got all that mastered – then enroll in Infuse with Bro. Jim. Then after all that – ask a lot of questions.

Adam Kisler, Children’s Pastor of Rock Kids in Kansas

If you are married, make sure the two of you are on the same page and make time for each other. If you have children make sure you make time for them, if you save the whole world and lose your family what have you truly accomplished.

Also Children are only 50% of what makes up children’s ministry, the other 50% is parents. If you want to impact a child then you need to impact their family and home life.

Think outside the box and reach kids in relevant ways. Outreaches, Schools, Family events, etc.

Ned Gable, Children’s Pastor at Brookwood Church in Greenville, South Carolina

As a new children’s pastor there is one very important concept you must grasp if you want to be successful. If there are more than 10 kids in your ministry you are not a children’s pastor… you are a volunteer pastor. Put 80% of your time (or more if your church is larger) into enlisting, equipping and encouraging volunteers. The sooner you realize this the better off you’ll be. Want to know how to do this… read Robert Coleman’s “Master Plan of Evangelism,” and then memorize “Volunteers that Stick” by Jim Wideman.

Melinda Madison, Children’s Pastor at Hillcrest Church in Florida

Great advice already. Stay grounded in the Word and make time for worship/alone time with the Lord. If there are weeks that you don’t have corporate worship, find other ways to do so (podcasts, etc.). Tim Elmore has some great leadership books. In one of his books, he warns against becoming the “hungry baker”, always feeding others, but not yourself.

Prioritize and find a healthy balance. Make time for your family and if things get too busy, then it’s time to see what has to give. Having a strong, dedicated volunteer base is crucial. Invest in your leaders.

Keeo a journal so you can reflect on the joys of serving the Lord through kids. It’s great to look back and see how the Lord has answered prayers and be reminded of the sunshine kids/their families bring into our lives!

Sean A. Bynum, Children’s Pastor at Manna Church in North Carolina

Seek God for His vision for the ministry instead of seeking yours and asking Him to get on board. This is the hardest and most rewarding calling in the local church. Be assertive and cultivate the ability to hear from God. Once you have heard, cast the vision and follow through.

Nancy from Lexington, Kentucky

One of the best pieces of advice I received when I began was to gather a team around me. At first, if it is nothing more than people who have a heart for children and ministry, they will be the ones that you share your vision with… the ones who will hear your heart and not just see changes… they will help you cast your vision to the rest of the church and will be your biggest support.

Another thing that I have learned is that over the past 100 years or so the church as a whole has done a marvelous job of splitting up families as soon as they enter the door. I am a firm believer in age appropriate learning but I am also a firm believer in parents being the spiritual leaders in their home. Unfortunately, we have laid a path for many parents to think that the church is responsible for the complete spiritual development of their children. So my advice is to look at empowering parent to lead their children. Make it common for them to experience prayer time and Bible time together… make them Deut. 6:7 families. After all the church may only have the child one hour a week…

Rach Quinn, Children’s Pastor at Arise Church in Australia

That is brilliant advice. I started out the kids ministry in my church (planted Oct 08); and getting people around me who shared the vision and were fully prepared to champion the cause for our kids was the best thing i’ve done. I’d say- especially in small churches, to not just grab whoever’s free that Sunday but to actually look for people who do have a specific heart for the children. Look for the BEST for your kids, and as for the kids; just love on them. I get kids run in from across the street on Sundays, just to get to kids church early; simply because we give them an environment where they’re loved and encouraged. That’s the greatest thing in a child’s life.

Matt Lee, Children’s Pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Indiana

Three simple things I have learned…
1. Pace Yourself but have a clear vision with big dreams. I have been reminded often that Rome wasn’t build overnight, but Nehemiah rebuilt the walls in 52 days because he put these three things into practice.

2. Don’t underestimate the importance of training your children and the church that the children are an important part of the body of Christ. In our church they have showed the adults how to give from the heart, how to serve unselfishly, and how to evangelize to total strangers. I am not talking about making sure they get up and put on a show for the adults every once in awhile. I am talking about challenging your kids to be the church. To serve in areas they are passionate about and in areas they are needed to serve in.

3. Humble Yourself and be open to learn from others. Even those with bad methods can teach you something.

Tamera Kraft, Revival Fire For Kids, Children’s Ministry Revivalist

I would agree with all of these words of wisdom, but I would add one more. Don’t underestimate the children you’re ministering to. Mentor and disciple them, and give them opportunities to minister. Children can grow spiritually mature before they grow physically or emotionally mature. God has used children and teenagers in every major revival in history. Children aren’t the church of tomorrow, they’re the church of today. But they are the leaders of tomorrow.

Is Your Children’s Ministry An Idol – God’s Favor


Is growth of your children’s ministry your measure in how much God loves or favors you? The wisdom of today’s church world would say yes.  The bigger the better. The more children you have in your ministry, the greater God is blessing you. The first shall be first. Wait. Wasn’t that supposed to be the first shall be last?

Church growth strategies to help churches know how to reach the lost and effectively minister in a greater way have their place. But sometimes greater numbers and ministries can also become an idol, especially when they’re used to measure God’s favor on our lives.

Let’s look at examples in the Bible. There are times when great multitudes were ministered to and great exploits were achieved by men and women who had the favor of God on their lives. Moses, Joshua, King David, Paul the Apostle, and John the Baptist were a few.

But there were also cases where someone would obey God and fulfill his ministry calling, but the results didn’t show God’s favor. Jonathan, King Saul’s son, not only didn’t expand the kingdom, he never gained it. He swore to David to give the kingdom to him. But before he could do that, he died in battle. Yet, God was pleased with him.

Jeremiah preached his entire life without one convert. Talk about discouraging. Yet God was pleased with Jeremiah. Jesus showed us an example of how to build a great following and then have everyone turn away from him. Yet Jesus is God’s beloved Son. I all ready mentioned Paul and John the Baptist who had large ministries. Both were beheaded.

We can also look at more recent church history to know that numbers and statistics don’t always show what’s really happening in the Kingdom of God. In the 1850’s, history only records one conversion a Sunday School teacher named Mr. Kimball made – DL Moody. Fredrick Meyer heard DL Moody preach about Mr. Kimball and decided to become an evangelist. J. Wilbur Chapman heard Meyer say, “If you are not willing to give up everything for Christ, are you willing to be made willing?” and became an evangelist. Billy Sunday helped Chapman set up crusades and learned to preach from Chapman. He eventually took over Chapman’s ministry. A group of men became inspired by Billy Sunday’s crusades, and determined to hold crusades in Charlotte, North Carolina to win the lost. They hired Mordecai Ham to preach some services. Billy Graham went forth in one of those services and was saved.

Some children’s pastors, leaders, and teachers will never be known for their impact on the Kingdom of God because their ministry might have been small in numbers. But only God knows how great their ministry really is and how the assignment He gave them to do may have greater impact than the large children’s ministry down the street.

But the key to God’s favor isn’t the size of your ministry or even the impact it’s making if you could measure that. The key is following hard after God and obeying whatever He gives you to do. Results are God’s business, but obedience and devotion to God is our responsibility. When we start get away from that and start looking at results, that’s when children’s ministry can become an idol.

Is Your Children’s Ministry An Idol – One Thing


Children’s pastors are devoted to Children’s Ministry. God has called them and given them an assignment of great importance. It’s a ministry that touches the heart of God.

But children’s ministry is also hard work. Children’s leaders are often misunderstood, mistreated, overlooked, and overworked. Many times this will keep the children’s leader from the one thing he or she needs more than anything else – the one thing that will keep the leader from being burned out in ministry.

Psalms 27:4(NRSV) One thing I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.

Psalms 16:8(NKJV) I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

Philippians 3:13-14(NRSV) Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

According to these verses, that one thing we should be devoted to is not a bigger or better children’s ministry. It’s not carrying out the vision God has given us for children’s ministry. It’s not even discipling children or carrying out our ministry assignment from God.

The one thing  God wants us to focus on above all else is our relationship with Him. He wants us to know Him, to seek after Him, to behold His beauty, and to press hard after Him.

Many times we get so involved with the ministry assignment God has given us spending much of our time working for God. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an important assignment. But when the ministry, even children’s ministry, becomes our one thing instead of seeking a relationship with God, then it becomes an idol before God.

If you’re only seeking God about children’s ministry, it might have become your god. If you’re only studying or reading God’s Word to get something to teach in children’s church, children’s ministry might have become your idol. If the only time you pray is before children’s classes or children’s events or at church services or staff meetings, you’re on dangerous ground.

We need to make our relationship with God the one thing that comes before everything else, even ministry. Our ministry assignment from God should come from the overflow of our relationship with him.

I confess that, at times, I’ve been guilty of this sin of putting my ministry assignment before my relationship with God. I learned the hard way that this leads to spiritual burnout and a crisis of faith. When I repented of this sin, God restored my relationship with Him to greater heights then I’ve ever known. But I had to recognise this as a sin before God, as idol worship.

You may be in this same situation. If that’s the case, go to God today and repent of your idol worship and ask Him to restore your relationship with Adonai, our Lord and our Master.

Is Your Children’s Ministry An Idol?


Children’s leaders and pastors work long hours and devote much time to serving God in children’s ministry. Most children’s leaders motives are pure. They are doing what they do because God has called them to one of the most important ministries in the Kingdom of God. How then could children’s ministry become an idol?

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll list some danger signs that you are putting your children’s ministry ahead of God. Here’s a list of questions that may show you have a problem in this area.

Do you only study the Bible to prepare a Children’s Sermon?

Is growth of your children’s ministry your measure in how much God loves or favors you?

Do you have downtime from children’s ministry?

Does you pray more or only when you have a children’s ministry event or service?

When you read “this one thing I do” in Scripture, do you immediately think of all you do for children’s ministry?

Is children’s ministry your vision, your passion, or your assignment from God?

Do you pray and fast to grow closer to God or to get God to grow the children’s ministry?

I’ll cover each of these questions over the next few weeks.

10 Tips for Teacher Recruitment

Recruiting teachers and workers 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 recruiting.

2. Keep the children before the congregation. Children who never perform in front of the congregation and who are never seen will be forgotten.

3. Give regular updates through the bulletin and announcements about the good things going on in children’s ministry. People are more willing to volunteer for a ministry that’s on fire.

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.

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 teachers sign a year-long commitment, have a list of requirements,  and do screening. Let them 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.