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.
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.