3 Thinking Habits of Great Children’s Ministry Leaders

3 Thinking Habits of Great Children’s Ministry Leaders

think-differentChildren’s Ministry leaders who are really good at what they do have a lot in common. One of them is the way they think. Here are 3 of the most important “thinking habits” that separate an average or good leader from a great one.

Thinking Habit #1: Great KidMin leaders think “being” over “doing”.

There is a lot to “do’ in leading a children’s ministry. In fact, there’s always something else to do.

And that can be a problem. It’s very easy for the leader to become a slave to everything that needs to be done. It’s easy for them to take on responsibilities that they should be delegating or equipping others to do so that they can focus primarily on what only they can do.

Worse, it’s really easy to let the “doing” define us, replacing the necessity to “be” in our faith. Unwittingly, we allow the fact that we work for a church and the busyness of our role to replace the commitment to nourish our own soul.

Great KidMin leaders don’t let this happen. They think “being” first. They make sure their faith is growing and vibrant, knowing that their ministry really has to flow from that faith. Remember the story of Mary & Martha (being vs. doing)? Yea…that’s the idea.

Another aspect of this “doing” vs. “being” is how we present our ministry to families and children. Do we unconsciously present a checklist of doing that represents success in their faith? If they attend church every week, memorize their verse and behave like “Christians” (in other words, “do” everything they ought to do), are they good?

Or are we willing to create environments where individuals can wrestle with their faith and get messy “being”.

There is a place for “doing”, but “being” is what it’s really all about. Great KidMin leaders think “being” over “doing” in their work, their ministry and their own personal lives.

Thinking Habit #2 – Great KidMin leaders think “people” over “program”

As I work with churches all over the country, I often see this reversed. And it was certainly a lesson I had to learn early in my days as a Children’s Pastor.

Thinking “program” is relatively easy. It’s tangible. It’s success is fairly easily measured. It’s very visible and we receive lots of plaudits if it’s done well (makes us feel good!).

And certainly having great program IS important. But it’s not the MOST important element of your ministry.

People are.

“Well, of course they are” you say? Yes, we all would mentally agree with this. But too often the way we pursue ministry does not reflect this.

A KidMin leader who puts “people” over “program” looks something like this:

  • They walk slowly through the crowd on Sunday morning, looking for opportunities to connect. No rushing around putting out fires without regard to the important conversations waiting to be had with kids, parents and volunteers. 
  • They build their ministry to vision and not to need, knowing that vision inspires people but constant need discourages them, and deteriorates program.
  • They consider the spiritual impact of a program first, and design it to have the greatest impact. Numbers matter. Excellence matters. But connecting with a person’s heart matters most.
  • They equip their team to serve first through relationships, adjusting their teaching to meet the needs presented to them rather than strictly adhering to that day’s lesson plan.
  • They are as concerned with the spiritual health of their serving team & parents as they are of the kids they serve. Children’s ministry is about spiritual growth of all people involved, not just a program to fill a few hours on Sunday morning.

Great KidMin leaders think “people” over “program”.

Thinking Habit #3 is this: Great KidMin leaders think “developing” over “equipping”

Now don’t get me wrong – equipping is essential! In fact, it’s something every church leader should be about. Ephesians 4 pretty much says that what our job is all about.

By “developing”, however, I mean growing leaders. Increasing leadership capacity. Where equipping is about teaching tasks, developing is about inward growth. Essentially, we’re taking the “being” over “doing” idea to those around us. Yes, we need to equip them to “do”, but more important is to develop them to “be”. When we grow (develop) them as a leader we are thinking long term (vision) and, eventually, the payoff will be exponential to our investment. Equipping helps us immediately, and is the initial part of development, but developing them over the long haul will enable growth doors that equipping will never even knock on.

3 keys to developing leaders:

  • It requires developing yourself first
  • It requires relationship
  • It requires long-term commitment

Great Children’s Ministry leaders think different.

How are you thinking as you lead your Children’s Ministry?

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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.

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