5 Keys to Leading a Children's Ministry Team You Inherited

When you step into a new children's ministry role, you normally inherit a team of volunteers that you didn't build.  Rather, you inherit your predecessor's team.

Being in this situation several times, I've discovered 5 keys to effectively leading a volunteer team you've inherited.  Some of these I have learned the hard way through mistakes I've made.  I trust it will be a help and encouragement to you if you're in a new leadership role now or in the future.

1. Love. 
People don't follow a title...they follow someone they know cares about them.  Initiating change is not your first priority in a new role.  Your first priority is getting to know the people on the team and showing them you value them.  This comes from spending time with them.
2. Listen.
Instead of coming in with answers...come in with questions.  Ask the right questions and then simply listen.  When you allow your new team to provide input, you will gain their buy in. 

3. Learn. 
You will have limited knowledge coming in.  It's important to learn and get a clear picture of the team you've inherited.  Take the answers from the conversations you've had in step 2 and evaluate where the team currently is.

4. Let go.
Often some volunteers are looking for an excuse to quit and a leadership change is the window they were waiting for.  If you've followed steps 1-3 and some volunteers leave, be okay with it.  Let them go.  They are probably not the right fit for where the ministry needs to go and will slow down progress if they stay.

5. Lead change slowly.
Finally, you must reshape the team based on the direction the ministry needs to go.  Just remember, you're leading a moving train.  You have to maintain stability while preparing for the future.  This takes wisdom.  Bringing too much change too soon can cause a train wreck.  Start with some small changes and get some wins under your belt before trying to implement big changes.