It Takes a Village

by Mark Entzminger/ September 30, 2019

This article is the third in a series of four designed to help establish a foundation that will help any children’s ministry stand the test of time. The first two anchors are:

  1. Safety Must Come First  and
  2. Watch Me Grow

Watch Me Grow pointed to this article as part of the solution to how we “Pastor Kids Relationally.”

Our western culture of privacy and seclusion has removed many of the benefits of raising children with intentional partnership with other godly adults. We might be together with other parents and families from time to time, but the “trophy child” syndrome creates more competition than it does community.

So how can children’s ministry leaders find ways to pastor kids relationally? The answer is simple, but the strategy takes some work. Church leaders must build a team by investing in the home and investing in leaders.

1. Invest in the home.

This is a long-term strategy and works best when the whole church is on board. It is difficult for the children’s pastors to have much influence in shaping the home when they have the least amount of face time with the parent. As a result, the following questions might be discussed as a pastoral team.

  1. What is our approach to creating healthy marriages?
  2. What is our approach to partnering with parents?
  3. What is our approach to coming alongside the home?
  4. How can we support blended families?
  5. How does our church envision impacting parents who do not attend services, but their children do?

You see, investing in the home starts first with a strategy for creating strong marriages, not just creating better parents.


A strong, Christ-centered marriage is the best place for faith to be nurtured in children. A healthy marriage will naturally increase the effectiveness of the spiritual parenting, but a focus on parenting does not have the same kind of impact on the marriage.

What does this mean?

  1. Intentionally invest in healthy marriages.
  2. Make a God-honoring marriage the goal for every family.
  3. Celebrate marriage and equip husbands and wives.
  4. Help every parent to understand their role as spiritual leaders in their child’s journey.

2. Invest in your leaders

Children’s ministry done by one person is nearly impossible. However, it can be done when there are very few children. All it takes, though, is one service with a new family “checking out” your church to suddenly be overwhelmed with responsibility and chaos.

To help grow your team, some perspectives must be maintained by the church leadership:

  1. This is not child care: There is no junior Holy Spirit. Faith was intended to be passed to the children through unique environments. (Read how the Passover was implemented for children in Exodus 18.)
  2. Leaders are not filling a spot: It can be easy to treat adults as people studying the curriculum and taking a small group under their wing. But the truth is, more results will come from the leaders’ personal relationship with God than will ever be caught from the lesson. Let the leaders know their life, their story, and their personal relationship with God are vital for the children to see.
  3. This is not “my” ministry: It can be easy to forget to say thank you and share ownership of the ministry with the parents and leaders. To emphasize this is God’s church, your first conversation should be about needing to meet with Him each and every time. The perspective of “my” ministry can also be problematic if we try to do everything or take all the credit. Effective ministry must be co-owned by people within the church.

One may argue the statement, “It takes a village to raise a child.” But the truth is—a children’s ministry without strong team values with the home and with the leaders will not stand the test of time.