Practice This One Principle To Connect With People Better On Sunday Morning

Practice This One Principle To Connect With People Better On Sunday Morning

I believe that leadership is critical to ministry success, whether that’s in Children’s & Family Ministry or any other area of the church. Sometimes that means we need to connect better.

We talk about leadership principles, growing as a leader and developing leaders around you. We talk about what kind of leader is effective and what our leadership should look like.

But we also need to talk about what our leadership should “not” look like.

Let me back up a little bit: for anyone who’s led in children’s ministry, you know there is a lot to do. There are a lot of details, and service times can become pretty crazy, right? And, no matter how well you plan, things rarely seem to go according to the plan – there’s always something unexpected. Children’s Ministry can be just flat out hard to do! Have you been there?

Most of us are there just about every week. I’ve certainly been there.

And, early in my ministry, especially, I tended to become either focused or frantic on Sunday mornings. Even when things were going according to plan, I kept expecting something to happen, so I started getting into the habit of acting “focused & frantic” – especially before, between and after services. Everyone and everything around me started to become a blur.  I got so intent on getting things done, putting out fires, and micro-managing people that I forgot what was important.

And what’s that, you say? The people themselves.

I needed to stop being a focused and frantic leader and startbeing a leader that connected with people.

My boss, at the time, Dan Reiland, shared a principle with me that he had learned from our pastor, John Maxwell. He said John had taught him to “walk slowly through the crowd”.

To lead better, 'walk slowly through the crowd.' #KidMin #StuMin #FamMin Click To Tweet

On Sunday mornings I could literally walk through the lobby of our children’s building and never talk to anyone. I was focused on getting to the nursery because we didn’t have enough help. Or I needed to get to the 3rd grade class because the teacher called in sick. Or I needed to unlock the tech center that had somehow gotten locked in kids church.

You get the idea. There was always something to be focused and frantic about! And I neglected the very reason I was there – people.

So I learned to walk slowly through the crowd.

  • I practiced keeping a smile on my face instead of the intense look that made people think I was angry (I wasn’t – I was just focused – but it looked like I was).
  • I intentionally made eye contact with people instead of avoiding it, knowing that if they said something it might slow me from dealing with the issue at hand.
  • I relaxed a little when people wanted to talk, and learned that not every conversation has to be 10 minutes long. I could connect meaningfully without engaging in a long conversation.
  • I started to listen more intently to people, and learned that what’s up with people bubbles to the surface pretty quickly, enabling me to be more aware of what they were dealing with. And that made me care about them more.
  • I initiated contact with more kids and made sure to connect on their level, even if just for a few seconds.
  • I began making mental and even actual notes about the conversations I had and the things I observed so I could follow up with that person later.

I began to walk slowly through the crowd to allow for vital interactions with people.

Sure, everything still needed to get done. Problems still needed to be solved. But I didn’t need to be so focused and frantic on those tasks and problems – at least not externally.

What I needed to do was walk slowly through the crowd.

What have you learned about connecting with people on Sunday morning?

(please share in comments below)

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Greg Baird
Founder of Children's Ministry Leader & Vice President of Global Resources at David C Cook
The most important thing to know about me is that I am blessed beyond measure to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, to have married way over my head to my wife, Michele, and that I have two incredible grown sons named Taylor and Garret.

I serve as the Vice President of Global Resources in the Global Mission department at David C. Cook.

I love what I do as it is the outflow of 25 years of ministry experience as Children’s, Family & Administrative Pastor, consultant, trainer, speaker and short-term missions leader.

2 Responses to Practice This One Principle To Connect With People Better On Sunday Morning

  1. As a Lead Pastor and KidMin Pastor… I HAVE to connect with people. Our baby church in Downtown SF brings in new people each week and so i wear multiple hats on a Sunday… I started a position under me called service coordinator. For the most part, no one is upset with the service coordinator for focusing on getting a job done… but if I am detail focused, people notice and feel left out. The Service Coordinator is Kids director for the day…in charge of the Sunday details that I normally would have to run around and do. That way, as the pastor I can focus on actually pastoring people. I’m so grateful. Don’t get me wrong… I still have to deal with all the final calls and with a lot of busy work on a Sunday… but Having this position is such a life saver. We are a “small” church but have done this since day 1 so that I can do my very best to love on people. Last Sunday was one of those days though, so busy, so much do deal with… thanks for the reminder that my countenance, smile and eye contact really matter.

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