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.

What To Do When You Have Too Much To Do

At some point in every overworked children’s pastor’s life, he or she will become overwhelmed with a number of major issues and projects at one time. Summer is one of the busiest times on the children’s ministry calendar and can make a children’s pastor want to run away to some tropical island that doesn’t have children. help is on the way. Here’s what to do when the pressure of your to do list bears down on you.

1. Make A To Do List: Write down everything you need to do no matter how small or large. Just having it written down in black and white will relieve some of the pressure because you don’t have to remember everything.

2. Pray Over The List: Before you start tackling your to do list, lay hands on it and pray for God’s wisdom and guidance. This is a must.

3. Cross Off Unimportant Items: Look through the list. Cross off anything that doesn’t have to be done. You may want to color code your puppets and alphabetize your object lessons, but you don’t need to do that. Say no to the perfectionist within you. But don’t stop there. Any projects, events, or meetings that aren’t essential should also be crossed off.

4. Procrastinate: Write a new to do list of items that can wait until this crisis period is over. There are things that need to be done but can wait. During crunch time, only do what you have to do now. After making your procrastination list, file it. Then write on your calendar the date you’ll pull the wait to do list back out.

5. Delegate: This is the time to rally the troops. Check every item that can be done by someone other than you. Then call in your family, friends, and children’s ministry team and be brutally honest. Tell them you’re in over your head and need their help during this short-lived busy season.

6. Prioritize: Look at the list you have left. Group like jobs together to make them easier. Then number the list in order of importance.

7. Limit Interruptions: Tell friends and co-workers you’ll be unavailable except during certain times. This will give you large chunks of time to get busy on the to do list.

8. Have Fun: After tackling some of the jobs, take a break and do something relaxing and fun. When you get back to work, you’ll be relaxed and better able to handle the stress.

9. Take Care of Yourself: Exercise and healthy eating help you keep down your stress levels which will help you work faster and be more productive.

10. Unwind: After the crisis period, take a little time to yourself to unwind before tackling the jobs you put off. It you don’t allow yourself downtime, you may find yourself burning out.

Project Management For Children’s Pastors

It’s time to start planning children’s ministry for the school year. Most church calendars go September to August, so I’ll spend the next couple of weeks giving you helpful planning advise.

Project Management is an essential tool for children’s pastors. Children’s ministry is filled with huge projects that can’t be done effectively without project management. Some projects include Christmas and Easter programs, discipleship programs, holiday events such as a Halleluia Costume Carnival, Easter Egg Hunt and Back to School Bash, summer outreach, missions projects, choir, drama – the list goes on to infinity.

Most children’s pastors haven’t been trained with the skills they need to manage all these projects, but they can learn these skills. Here’s a series of blog posts to help you learn project management for children’s pastors.

Part 1: Introduction and Scope

Part 2: Resources and Team Building

Part 3: List Your Steps

Part 4: Work Your Plan

 

Signs Of A Thriving Children’s Ministry – Learning

We all have heard the stories of children’s ministries that remind us of the 1960’s. They use the same techniques they’ve used for the last fifty years: flannelgraphs, old children’s songs that have been around forever, and methods of organization that may have worked for years but no longer do. We all have the potential to become outdated if we don’t continue to learn, grow, and change with the times.

I have been a children’s pastor for twenty years and a children’s ministry consultant and revivalist for three years. One thing I’ve discovered is there’s always something new to learn, a new way of doing things, and new methods and resources out there. The minute I start believing I know what I’m doing and don’t reach out to learn more is the moment I start being ineffective.

There are many ways to keep ourselves sharp when it comes to children’s ministry. Here are a few:

Read Books: Reading is a great way to learn new things. But don’t limit yourself only to books on children’s ministry. Books on leadership, project management, Christian growth, and child developement and parenting are also helpful to Children’s pastors.

Keep Up With The Times: This is easier to do if you have children in school. If not, find out what the newest crazes and fads are. Talk to children about their interests outside of God. Buy secular children’s magazines and watch their TV shows and movies.

Go to Children’s Ministry and Leadership Conferences: There’s nothing like a children’s ministry or leadership conference to help you learn new things. It’s well worth the investment.

Network With Children’s Pastors: Nobody knows everything. Meet with other children’s pastors on a regular basis. Join Children’s Ministry Connect and other online children’s ministry networks. Listen and learn from other experts.

Signs Of A Thriving Childrens Minsitry – Discipling

Discipling is a key factor in a thriving children’s ministry. Unfortunately it’s one that’s not done effectively by many. Discipleship is more than teaching or training. Discipleship invites the person being discipled to come along and learn from the discipler while doing ministry. Here are some people you need to develop a discipleship program for.

Children: Children need to be discipled. But in most ministries children are only taught and not discipled. Jesus discipled by spending time with His disciples, using teachable moments, and allowing His disciples to minister with Him. Most children’s pastors do well with the teaching, some spend time with children, but how many spend time ministering with children? Children should be a part of every aspect of ministry. They should be mentoring and learning alongside the adult mentors in their lives. This link  has an article to help you disciple the students in your ministry.

Workers: Workers need training, but the best workers don’t come out of a training program. The best children’s ministry workers are those who have been mentored and discipled by someone. They are the ones that have benefitted from working alongside their mentors, from spending time with their mentors, and from having the a accountability that goes along with a relationship. Are you mentoring your workers or just training them.

Parents: Parents are the most important mentors of their children, yet many don’t understand how to mentor their children. We as children’s pastors should put the resources in their hands to help them mentor and disciple their children.