My husband is also our church Youth Pastor. Have you ever set out to do something and along the way learned or discovered something that you didn’t expect? If so, you’re in good company. In fact, there are several inventions today that we have grown quite fond of that were actually discovered by accident like potato chips, corn flakes, and chocolate chip cookies. Also on the list – post-it notes, silly putty, pacemakers, and the slinky.
When my husband and I got married 9 years ago I knew I’d learn a lot of things (like how to properly organize a dishwasher or that layer cakes were supposed to have pudding – not frosting – in the middle).
However, what I didn’t realize I would learn were these 5 things that helped us provide seamless ministry to kids and families in a way we would have never dreamt of before.
The ironic thing is that these 5 things should be part of every Children’s & Youth Leader working relationship ~ you don’t have to be married!
So, really, here are 5 ways the Children’s & Youth Leaders can begin to create synergy between their ministries:
I put this at the top because most of the other stuff on the list will fall into place if you get this right. My husband and I aren’t expert communicators – we just had little conversations often. Eventually, we knew the vision for the other’s ministry, we could offer ideas and suggestions, and we developed a great respect for God’s call on the other’s life. So stop competing with your Youth Pastor and start having conversations with them – you’ll be surprised at what you learn.
Sync Your Calendars.
The first year we were married we didn’t do this and we spent the entire time going in opposite directions. The second year we sat down and were more intentional about our event and trip calendars and discovered that not only was it better for our family but it was also better for the families in our ministries. Syncing doesn’t necessarily mean that the events have to be at the same time, it just means that you’re more intentional about what’s important and where they fall on the calendar.
Have a Plan.
Once you start talking and listening to each other, you’ll discover that you both have a passion for reaching God’s children. Neither one of you wants to lose them along the way over something silly. So sit down together and decide what characteristics you want a person that goes through your ministry to have when they graduate high school make a plan for ministering to them at each age so that you are building on the great things developed at each stage.
Use Common Language.
This will come from your plan. For example, if you both have a way of marking important stages in the spiritual journey of a child or student but Children’s Ministry calls them stepping stones and the Youth Ministry calls them mile markers then decide on the one name you will use throughout both ministries. You will find this to be very beneficial in the transition of kids from one ministry to the next. Your cohesive strategy and language will help children (and parents) feel like Student Ministry is just an extension of Children’s Ministry instead of a completely disjointed program.
Show Up at Each Other’s Events
My husband and I did this because we wanted to support each other, but it ended up having a meaningful impact on the children and students in our ministries as well. Seeing the Youth Pastor at Children’s Ministry events gave the kids a familiar face and a sense of warm welcome when they moved into the Youth Ministry. Seeing the Children’s Pastor at Youth Ministry events gave the students another point of connection which was especially helpful for the children that were having a hard time making the transition.
How do you create synergy between Children’s & Youth Ministry?
(please share in comments below)