by Mark Entzminger/ October 18, 2018
Let’s face it. In most churches the leaders have very little knowledge about what is taking place within the children’s ministry—unless they have children, which is a completely different story.
Just because they don’t always know what’s going on doesn’t mean they’re not interested. The demands of being a lead pastor in a local church leave little capacity to truly understand the health of every ministry in the church. So how do you help solve that? How do you build a bridge of communication and information?
One thing I recommend is to consider the answers to the following questions and, using wisdom, find ways to share those answers with your pastor.
This is more than numeric growth from week to week. It is also more than check-in systems working, camp registrations coming in, and being fully staffed for once. Consider life transformation as the biggest win to report. Has a leader become more committed? Did a new leader hit it out of the park? Did a child give indication of spiritual growth? How did your recent outreach go?
Believe it or not, most communication with pastoral leadership consists of complaints and problems. To have a regular diet of ministry wins can be very powerful.
I recommend sending these kinds of wins through email or text on a regular basis. Because we can tend to move from one event to the next, and never really celebrate what God has done, you should make this an intentional part of your routine. You never know—the note you pass along to the pastor might get mentioned in a board meeting or from the pulpit.
What if that one story you shared causes people to realize this is a ministry where great things are happening, and as a result, those people decide to get involved? It just might be a win that brings other wins!
Although not designed to send you off in a direction that is contrary to the vision for the church, asking these questions might be beneficial to you: How do you see ministry to children changing in the years ahead? What needs will you have? How will you intentionally reach parents or connect with schools nearby?
These ministry visions are important to get in front of your church leadership. I’ve seen on more than one occasion that when people know where the ministry is headed, they commit time and money to help facilitate the vision.
Let me be clear on this: Your vision must fit within the overall vision of the church. At the same time, it must be more compelling than, “I hope to get through the next month successfully.” Your vision can include parents taking more responsibility for the spiritual health in their home. It could be seeing every child committed to Christ and equipped to share their faith. It might also be about holding an outreach into an area of the community that has significant need.
Spend time praying and seeking God for His heart. He knows your church, community, and you better than you do. Why not trust Him to give you direction for the future? This may require more than an email to the pastor. Consider setting up a time to meet with your pastor to get his or her input on the church’s vision for children’s ministries, and watch what God does.
Because pastors are busy, it may seem like they do not care about you or the ministry you lead. While it may be true in some cases, it’s probably only a perception, rather than reality. You may not receive the supportive messages or conversations when the pastor checks in to see if you have what you need. But most pastors would gladly provide everything that is needed. Chances are, your lead pastor may not know your needs, or may not have been told at a time that is convenient.
I’ve seen leaders tell their pastor what they need just before a service begins. You cannot expect your pastor to remember any of that conversation the next day. Even the super-organized pastors, who have a system in place to remember your request, should be allowed to fully focus on connecting with people and preaching the Word.
When you have ministry needs, find the method and timing that makes the most sense to your pastor. It may be inconvenient for you, but it will return better results. Some will want an email. Others will want a note sent to an assistant. Still others may want to meet with you personally, but you’ll need to take the initiative to set up the conversation.
When sharing the needs of your ministry, do what you can to fill in as many blanks as possible. By having answers to questions like:
Doing some additional work on the front end can result in a much more favorable outcome of the conversation.
The demands on a pastor are unlike any other, but most pastors would readily say to their children’s ministries leader, “How can I pray for you?” Therefore, your offer to pray for your pastor’s specific need would be very meaningful. After your pastor shares how you can pray, pause right then to pray. What a great moment this can be to be able to talk to Jesus about a need your pastor is facing! You never know what an impact this could make!
I’ve tried to make this inquiry of how I could pray for someone a regular part of meetings and phone calls, and it’s always amazing the kind of response I receive. Imagine if this one question you ask begins to take root in the entire church!
The right information, presented at the right time and in the right manner, are crucial to your relationship with the pastor, and the success of your children’s ministries program!