I’ve served in Children’s Ministry for 25+ years in some capacity or another, so I admit I’m a little biased when it comes to the place of this ministry in the church. However, I truly do believe it is one of – if not the – most critically important ministries in the church. At the very least, it is important in its own right and deeply impacts every other area of the church.
Unfortunately, I consistently see a lack of value placed on this area of the church by Lead (and Executive) Pastors. My belief is that, with the burden they carry leading the church as a whole, pastors simply haven’t stopped to understand what Children’s Ministry is all about and the very important role it could play in the life of the church as a whole.
5 Things Pastors Need To Hear About Children’s Ministry
1. Children’s Ministry serves the most spiritually impressionable group in the church.
This is inarguable. Unfortunately, that spiritual impressionability also comes with snotty noses, dirty diapers, misbehavior and a lot of other things that are less than attractive.
However, if it’s true, this simple fact ought to make the Pastor’s eyes light up. After all, isn’t this what it’s all about? When the average church sees a very receptive adult group, how do we treat them?
2. Children’s Ministry serves the most spiritually influential group in the church (in case you’re wondering, that would be parents).
Again, there can be little argument against this. Study after study, and all the research done by Barna and other groups, show that parents are the primary spiritual investors in the lives of the most spiritually receptive group in the church.
Want to develop a discipleship program in your church? Start with parents. It’s a God-designed, ready to develop plan just waiting to happen! Want to have long-term impact in spiritual growth and health? Equip parents to invest in the spiritual lives of their children.
3. Children’s Ministry leaders are eager to align and integrate their ministries with the overall vision of the church.
90% or more of the KidMin leaders I speak with tell me this. Unfortunately, well over half say that they either don’t really know the vision of the church, or they don’t seem to have a voice which allows them to effectively connect with leadership and know how to maximize Children’s Ministry in the vision of the church.
4. Children’s Ministry is hard and needs your support and encouragement.
Children’s Ministry is one of the most challenging, complex ministries to lead in the church, period (read more in this post: Why Is Children’s Ministry So Hard?). It is flat out hard! Leading in children’s ministry can be very isolating. There is no other ministry (typically) that demands a presence at virtually every service and function of the church. There is no other ministry which serves so many people with such a diversity of needs. There is no other ministry which leads the number of people considered the most difficult group to lead – volunteers. And yet church leadership often place inexperienced, untrained leaders (but with great hearts!) over this area in the church, and expect them to lead with little practical support.
Children’s Ministry leaders need to know that you understand them, believe in them and support them. Pastors who don’t actively engage in encouraging their children’s ministry leaders do a disservice to them and the entire church. A simple note, a quick call of encouragement, or a pat on the back and “I’m praying with you for Children’s Ministry” can go a very, very long way.
5. Children’s Ministry can dramatically impact the health and growth of your church if you invest in it properly.
In fact, I tell pastors that “you can’t have a healthy church if you don’t have a healthy ministry to children”, and I believe that with all of my heart. So, do you know what a healthy children’s ministry looks like? Do you understand how Children’s Ministry can impact the rest of the church? Do you see the growth potential for the entire church when Children’s Ministry is invested in properly?
Simple things like investing in leadership development with the children’s ministry team, providing an adequate budget (chances are your Children’s Ministry budget is no where near in proportion to other departments), and giving them an equal spot at the leadership table with other department heads will go a long way toward tapping into the growth potential provided by Children’s & Family Ministry.
What else do pastors need to consider about Children’s Ministry?
(Please share in comments below.)