Mar 2, 2015

Top 10 Fears of KidMin Leaders (and how to conquer them)

We all have fears as leaders.  Some we have conquered and others we still battle.  Some come from outside sources and others rise internally.  

As I interact with children's ministry leaders, here are the top 10 fears that I hear echoed.

These are not ranked by greatest to least.  The order varies from person to person.

Fear #1 - Lack of Volunteers
Ever found your heart beating fast on a Sunday morning because you've had 3 volunteers bail on you and you didn't know how you were going to pull off the ministry?  Ever had VBS staring you down and you were short 6 teachers?  Ever been told the church is adding another service or an additional campus and you felt a wave of anxiety because you're already stretched thin on volunteers?

Conquer this fear...
Be encouraged.  Everyone has or is struggling with this.  You'll always need more volunteers...especially if you are growing and reaching people.  There are strategies you can implement that will help you build a dynamic volunteer team.  In this post, I share 10 simple secrets to building a volunteer team. 

In Matthew 9:38, Jesus told us to pray for laborers for the harvest.  He would not have told us to pray for something He didn't want to give us.  When you feel this fear creeping up on you, pray this prayer against it. 

Fear #2 - A Child Being Abused or Abducted
No matter how many precautions and safety measures you have in place, it's in the back of your mind.  When you hear about it happening at another church, you shudder when you think that it could happen in your ministry as well.  What if a child was abused while here at church?  What if a predator who hasn't been caught up to this point, started serving in our ministry?  What if someone slipped by our check out point and abducted a child? 

Conquer this fear...
It's our job to do everything possible to prevent a child from being abused or abducted.  Having solid walls of protection such as background checks, a no one ever alone with a child policy, a check-in plan and other safety measures are all ways to lessen the chance of a child being abused.  Here are more ways to make your ministry a safe and secure place.

Fear #3 - Criticism
Ever opened an email and it ruined your day?  Ever got a voice mail from a parent and dreaded calling them back?  Ever been hesitant to ask for feedback because of what you know you'll hear?  Ever not made a change because you didn't want to go through the backlash you'd get?

Conquer this fear...
Shift your thinking.  When a parent or volunteer brings criticism or complaints, see it as a gift.  Listen to it and learn something from it.  Some of the best lessons you will learn are when you are thrown under the bus.  Here's some more tips on how to overcome this fear.

Fear #4 - Lack of Growth
Ever stared at your attendance sheet and realized the number of kids attending your ministry is either flat or going the wrong way?  Ever stared into a half-empty classroom and wondered if there is anything you can do to more effectively reach kids and families?

Conquer this fear...
Remember, this is something you can't control.  God simply expects us to do our part by removing any barriers that are hindering growth.  Here is a list of barriers.  When we remove these and other barriers, God does His part and grows His church.

Fear #5 - Not Being Liked
Are you a people pleaser?  Are you afraid someone won't like you?  Do you lose sleep when you know someone is upset with you?

Conquer this fear...
The need to be liked is normally rooted in a need for affirmation.  We want the approval of others.  To conquer this fear, we must tie our identity to what God thinks about us, instead of what man thinks about us.  If you struggle with this fear, here is some help.

Fear #6 - Conflict
Do you run from hard conversations?   Do you let stuff slide because you don't want to deal with it?  Do your palms get sweaty when a parent asks to meet with you over an issue?

Conquer this fear...
This is one of the bigger fears for leaders.  The good news...navigating conflict is a skill that can be learned.  Conflict is never easy, but if you enter it knowing what you are and are not going to say, it significantly lessons the fear.  Here's some help with navigating explosive conflict.

Fear #7 - Volunteers Leaving
If it wasn't stressful enough to enlist a volunteer team, you have to keep them as well.  You get wind that one of your key volunteers is talking about stepping down and it sends chills down your spine.

Conquer this fear...
Build relationships with your volunteers.  This is the glue that will keep them serving with you.  That being said,  realize that no matter what you do, you will have some volunteers bolt on you.  Don't sweat it, God will send someone to replace them. 

Fear #8 - Not Making an Impact
We all want to know that our lives have made an impact.  Deep down inside we sometimes wonder if we are laboring in vain.  Will we be able to look back in the end and see that we clearly made a difference?  And if we do, will the impact be miniscule compared to what we had hoped and prayed for?

Conquer this fear... 
Two simple verses will help you conquer this fear.  Memorize and quote them when this fear approaches you. 

"It is the same with my word.  I send it out, and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it."  Isaiah 55:11

"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable.  Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless."  I Corinthians 15:58

Fear #9 - Lack of Funding
Have you ever been afraid to ask for something for the ministry because you're sure the answer will be "no?"  Ever catch wind that the church offerings are down and wondered what that meant for children's ministry funding?

Conquer this fear...
Remember you must be the children's ministry champion in your church.  You must evaluate, pray and determine what the needs are.  It's your job to make the ask.  After that, it's out of your hands.  Don't sweat it.  God will provide what you need.  And remember, our perception of what we "need" may not match up with what God knows we need at the time.

Fear #10 - Kids Not Really Understanding a Decision They've Made to Follow Christ
Ever walked away from a baptism struggling with whether or not the child was really ready to be baptized?  Ever felt the weight of the responsibility of sharing the Gospel clearly with children?

Conquer this fear...
It's our job to share the Gospel with clarity.  Involve parents in the process and offer them guidance as they journey though this decision with their child.  Have a class kids go through before they are baptized.

Do due diligence to ask kids questions about their decision.  If you feel they are not ready, then work through this with the child's parents.

Be reminded that we can't save anyone.  That job has already been taken.  We get the privilege to introduce kids to the One who does the saving.

The floor is yours.  What are some other fears you have faced?  How did you deal with them?  How have you dealt with some of the fears mentioned above?  Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

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