A Children’s Pastor’s Most Important Mission

Children’s pastors can get so involved in the creative and organizational aspects of children’s ministry than they can forget the most important part of children’s ministry. Paul summed it up best in 1st Corinthians 11:1 (ICB), “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Our most important mission as children’s pastors is to follow Christ in such a way that we set an example for the students in our ministry to follow.

Here’s some things to examine about yourself to follow this mission:

God’s Word: How often do I read or study God’s Word, not to get a Bible story or lesson for children’s church, but to glean from God’s Word what I need for my daily walk with Him? If I stress the importance of God’s Word to children in my ministry, I need to follow through by making it an important part of my life.

Worship: Do I worship God only in children’s church? When I’m in the intergenerational service, do I only worship with my whole heart when I feel like it? Children watch everything I do all the time. When I don’t know I’m being watch, am I setting an example in my worship? Also do I worship God in my daily life when nobody’s watching? Worship assigns value to what we worship. A lifestyle of worship of God sets an example to children by assigning value to God.

Prayer: Do I pray for the students in my ministry? Do I call their names out every week? Do I pray for the prayer requests they bring before me? Do I write them down? Do I ask about them the following week? When I do this, I show children the importance of prayer and that I care enough about them to pray for them.

Church Attendance: Am I ever in church other than when I’m in children’s church? This should be a no-brainer, but if you’re not careful, because children’s ministry requires so much, you can get to the point where you let your church attendance slip unless there’s a children’s ministry function. You need fed before you can give to others.

Ministry: We want children to learn to minister unto God and in the church, but we need to set an example of excellence in ministry. Do I arrive early to children’s church? Am I prepared? Did I wait until Saturday evening to read over the curriculum or to get on the Internet and find a lesson for Sunday morning? Have I been seeking God for a word for this week’s children’s message? Have I applied the message to my life before I walk into the church doors?

If you lack any of these things, eventually the children in your ministry will notice. Stay strong in the Lord, and set an example in Christ for children to follow.

A Children’s Pastor Is A Leader

Exodus 32:34 (NCV) So now, go. Lead the people where I have told you, and my angel will lead you.

As a leader, there are certain principles to remember.

Leaders are servants.

Philippians 2:3-4 (NKJV) Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

You are called to serve God by serving others. This is true of leaders even more so. Christ led by serving. We are to do the same. 

Leaders have a vision and communicate it.

Habakkuk 2:2 Write the vision, and make it plain upon the tables, that he may run that reads it.

Leaders have team under them who help them plan ministry. But the vision comes from the person God has called to lead. You, as a children’s pastor, are responsible for receiving a vision from God for the children’s ministry that fit with your senior pastor’s vision for the church. Once you receive that vision, communicate it with your leaders, so you can all be on the same page.

Leaders are examples to follow.

As a leader, you have a responsibility to be an example of integrity and character. Be an example others can follow.

Ephesians 4:1 (NKJV) I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.

Leaders have a team.

John Maxwell says “If you think your leading and nobody’s following, you’re not leading. You’re taking a walk.” Develop a team under you. As your ministry grows, your team should grow. Plan with your team, equip your team for ministry, give them the resources they need, then release them.

Leaders plan, set goals, and organize their time.

Philippians 3:14 (NKJV) I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Luke 14:28  For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

There are no shortcuts to this. A leader has to learn time management and the art of setting manageable goals. If you don’t do this, you’ll only be able to grow to a certain level. Here’s a link to help you develop a planning system. Jim Wideman also has a lot of great resources on how to do this at this link.

Leaders overcome struggles.

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

If you are a leader, you will have struggles. Teachers will cancel at the last minute. There will never be enough workers, resources, or money to do the things you want to do. You’ll be misunderstood. Some people will lie about you or will try to turn others against you. Many times you’ll feel all alone. Welcome to Leadership 101. Expect it so it won’t capture you unaware. But when this happens, remember you’re not alone. God will go through the struggles with you. Lean on His strength.

Leaders grow.

Guard against the attitude that you know how to do this, that you’ve got it together. Unfortunately this type of attitude is what has caused children’s ministries to be stuck in the past. Most children’s ministries are an average of twenty years behind the times.

Leaders never stop growing. Read books, go to conferences, check out other leaders’ ministry blogs, and find out what children today are into. Also never be afraid of change. Allow yourself to consider new possibilities and methods of doing things. Do this, and your ministry to children will stay relevant.