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.