The Changing Role of Pastors...And What It Means for Children's Ministry

Leadership Network recently released a report about the changing role of Senior Pastors. As I read it, I reflected on the implications for KidMin. Here are some highlights from the report and my thoughts.

The average age of the Pastor has remained constant at 50-51 years of age. 

What this means for KidMin...
Most Pastors will attract parents who are in the range of 10 years younger than they are up to 10 years older than they are. This means there is a pull for parents who are in their late 30's or early 40's. Yeah! Parents in this age range normally have children in the preschool to middle school years. This means lots of great opportunities to reach and disciple kids and their parents.

Younger churches are becoming larger...faster.
Churches are being started with a leadership team instead of someone flying solo. They start out with the expectation that they will grow quickly and they staff to that end.

What this means for KidMin...
There are more opportunities for Children's Pastors/Directors than ever before. I get calls on a regular basis from churches wanting names for KidMin staff positions. We must continue to raise up and equip KidMin Leaders who can step into these key roles.

Almost all young Pastors and Leaders of growing churches think multi-site. The multi-site movement was started by large churches about a decade ago. It has now moved from a trend to a vital part of church growth. New churches think multi-site from day one.

What this means for KidMin...
Multi-site churches mean multi-site KidMins. When a KidMin goes multi-site, it changes dramatically. Going multi-site will stretch a KidMin to it's limit. We must amp up multi-site training opportunities and networking. KidMins who have been down the multi-site road can provide mentorship for other KidMins that are going multi-site and share their wins and mistakes with them.

Pastors are moving away from the title "Senior Pastor" and toward "Lead Pastor" or "Directional Leader." This reflects the subtle shift to a team approach of leadership.

What this means for KidMin...
The shift toward a team approach opens the door for leading up. Children's Leaders have increased opportunities to bring influence to the entire church. But this privilege must be earned. It does not come from title, but from relationship, respect, fruit, and change in the pocket. KidMins must step up to the leadership table with the goods.

The team approach also brings greater opportunities for collaboration with other ministries in the church. KidMins can work with student and adult ministries to formulate a strategy that flows from the cradle to college. The opportunity to shift from departmentalization to collaboration has never been better.

Pastors are moving toward more network involvement and less denominational involvement. 

What this means for KidMin...
KidMin Leaders will follow the same path. Leadership conferences, area gatherings, and online networking will continue to be less and less denominational driven and more and more philosophy/strategy driven.

The rising generation of Pastors are developing multi-ethnic churches more easily. While the previous generation talked a lot about it and worked very hard to get there, the current generation seems to just do it and considers it a natural way of doing church. One factor may be that the rising generation grew up in much more diverse environments.

What this means for KidMin...
More KidMins will reflect the wonderful diversity of the body of Christ. KidMins should reflect this in their pictures, advertising, vidoes, etc.

Growing churches are turning their focus outward and external.  Churches are moving away from measuring success based on the number of programs or involvement ministries they have such as sports leagues and women's ministry. Instead "service" is becoming a large component of discipleship with ministry to the poor and disadvantaged in a very pronounced way.

What this means for KidMin...
Kidmins should make serving others a significant part of their discipleship strategy for kids. This includes not only making it part of the curriculum pathway, but also providing hands on service projects in the church and community.

This also means that as churches shift more toward a culture of serving that adults are more open to getting involved in Children's Ministry. There has never been a greater opportunity for KidMins to enlist, equip, and empower new volunteers.

The system for developing future Student Ministry Pastors is changing. In the past, a large majority of Pastors started out as youth/student ministry Pastors. After a few years in Student Ministry, they would transition into a Senior Pastor role. Today many young leaders are bypassing that route and jumping from seminary straight into the role of a church planter. There is a feeling that many of the best and brightest are not interested in Student Ministry as a starting point.

I don't think this impacts KidMin as much as it does Student Ministry, but it does have some ramifications. We must continue to pray for God to raise up leaders who are committed to reaching and discipling children. This also means that many future KidMin Leaders will be homegrown from within local churches. Instead of coming from seminary, they will come from secular jobs because as a volunteer they have demonstrated great leadership and a call to Kidmin. Your next KidMin staff member may not be sitting in seminary...they may be currently working as a volunteer in one of your rooms.

What do you think about these shifts? How do you think they are impacting Kidmin? What can we do or not do to make adjustments and benefit? Would enjoy reading your thoughts.

Posted by Dale Hudson