by Dan Metteer/ June 17, 2015
After sixteen years as a career children’s pastor, I have recently made a shift out of children’s ministry into ministry as a lead campus pastor. This gives me a unique perspective. I intimately understand the burning passion that motivates ministry to children, as well as the challenges that children’s ministry presents. As I process my new identity outside of children’s ministry, I am beginning to have a new perspective on how kids’ ministry is viewed by those on the outside. Here are five new truths that I have realized:
1. Your pastor doesn’t hate kids’ ministry.
Okay, I never really thought my pastor hated children’s ministry, but there were definitely times when I felt alone—that no one else cared about the challenges that I faced, whether it was with volunteers, facility, budget, or all-of-the-above. The truth I am now beginning to see is that everyone in the church wants children’s ministry to succeed, but no one else is as uniquely positioned to address those challenges as the children’s leader. He/she is the expert. It is not that others don’t sympathize; it is just that they don’t fully understand what is going on. So, if you need help, ask specifically. Ask in such a way that people can see they are not stepping on your toes by lending a hand.
2. Children’s ministry is invisible.
It is painful to hear, I know, but it is true. If you are not a kid or an adult volunteering with kids, you can’t see what is happening behind the walls of children’s ministry. It is easy to forget this when you are the one seeing nothing but kidmin. The job of the children’s leader is to paint the picture for what is happening behind those walls—for parents, for staff, and for the church as a whole. Others want to know what is happening, but don't want to seem pushy by asking specifically. Let them know what is happening. Tell stories so others can be as excited as you are.
3. Who volunteers matters.
I have never seen this so clearly as I do now. When people consider volunteering in children’s ministry, the first thing they do is look to see who ELSE is volunteering. If the other volunteers are like them (in age, maturity, social skills, etc.) they will most likely volunteer. If not, they probably won’t. Enough said.
4. Children’s ministry is the most important ministry of the church.
We like to tout this as a tagline, but it is so true. As a parent of three kids at a new church, the most important thing for me was that my kids wanted to keep coming. As an adult, I can deal with little quirks in a church, but if the kids’ ministry is not rock-solid it is a deal-breaker.
Step back and look at your church’s kidmin—what stories do you have to tell that will inform, motivate, and rally the members of your church?