by David Reneau/ April 25, 2017
When I first started working in children’s ministry as a part-time bi-vocational pastor, I was so excited to finally work with kids every week. I looked forward to the fun we would have and the lessons we would learn as we explored the Bible together. Alas, I learned quickly that this is not always the case. If you’ve been full time, part time, or even a volunteer leader in children’s ministry, you know exactly what I’m talking about. A typical week is spent planning, recruiting, organizing, scheduling, and juggling more balls than we care to count. It’s a tough job, and no one should do it alone.
What you need is a team and a plan. Our kids are our future, and we can’t take that lightly by using a few puppets and adding baking soda to vinegar (again) to make our point. The problem is that many children’s workers I’ve met don’t know how to lead an organization. This was my challenge, and I’m sure many of you lack these skills as well.
Framework Leadership by Kent Ingle gives us the building blocks that any leader needs to have. Ingle has taken a mountain of leadership theory from multiple sources and boiled it down to quick, easy-to-read, and understandable bites. He states in chapter 1, “To be effective, the leadership framework must not only take into consideration the context; it must arise from and be integrated into it. Effective leadership isn’t a one-size-fits-all quality.” To build this framework into the context of our position, Ingle covers such topics as active listening, understanding context, establishing clarity, leading with conviction, building teams, taking risks, and much more.
A mentor of mine once said that for many years, children’s ministry was about the carnival guy. He can do balloon animals, give David Blaine a run for his money, and Bozo was his hero. But children’s ministry has changed drastically over the years. We still need to know how to do those things, but we also must know how to prioritize, lead volunteers of all ages, line up what the kids are doing with the vision of the house, and create alignment within all the different ministries. Now churches are looking for both an administrator/leader and the carnival guy.
Ingle teaches the reader how to become the leader. I think he says it best: “Framework leadership gives the leader a kind of map of the unknown. It provides a structure, a rationale, and a method for moving an organization forward in the change process.”
If you’re looking for a way to take your ministry to the next level, to move past, “Here comes Sunday,” and lead to a breakthrough, the principles in Framework Leadership can take you there. Your kids and your ministry deserve it.