The older you get in children's ministry, the more you must surround yourself with younger leaders.
You'll need them as your energy and stamina wanes. I remember when I started as a young man 26 years ago, an all-night sleepover was no problem. I could keep up with the kids. Now in my late 40's, it's not a sleepover...it's 9:00 pm...time for your parents to pick you up. That's why I need the leaders in their 20's who can stay up all night with the kids.
The older you get, the more important it is to put younger leaders in front of the kids. Use high schoolers and young adults for videos, worship, teaching and other up front activities. This doesn't mean you shouldn't teach or lead up front, but make sure you balance your age with youth.
The older you get, the more intentional you must be to stay in touch with young culture. You can stay in touch with young culture by being a student of it. In this post, I share some tips on how to do this.
Notice I said "stay in touch" with young culture...I didn't say "try to be young culture." You may thing you're still cool at 50...but you're probably not if you're like me...even with skinny jeans on. And that's okay as long as you surround yourself with young leaders who are.
The older you get, the more you must shift to equipping. Young children's ministry leaders need your wisdom, experience and guidance. Instead of trying to be them...pour into them. When you do this, you leave a legacy that will long outlive you.
The older you get, the more impact you can have. Talk to older, veteran children's ministry leaders and you will hear stories of how they are now teaching the kids and even grandkids of kids who grew up in their ministry. The joy of growing old in children's ministry is seeing your ministry bear fruit across multiple generations.
Will I ever retire from children's ministry? I hope not. I want to go the distance. One of my heroes in children's ministry was a lady named Dorothy who taught for us. She was in her 80's. While others gave the excuse that they "had put their time in," she kept going. As she begin to grow more feeble, I asked if she wanted to retire. Her class was on the second floor and I told her it was getting difficult for her to get up there. She quickly reminded me that there was an elevator and she would keep on teaching. She was stubborn that way...a good kind of stubborn. I was able to talk her into letting me get a younger leader to assist her. Dorothy taught faithfully until she passed away. I conducted her funeral...I know she heard the words "well done good and faithful servant" when she entered heaven. Her faithfulness still inspires me.
If you're reading this and you're not quite as spry as you used to be...be encouraged. God still has much for us to do. Let's be like Dorothy and go the distance. You see...
Greatness in children's ministry is not measured in years...it's measured in decades.Have you or someone you know been serving in children's ministry a long time? We'd love to hear your stories. Share in the comment section below and inspire a younger reader today.