May 8, 2017

Why You Shouldn't Always Be in Children's Ministry


Recently, I was talking with a children's pastor who is on the verge of burnout.  As we talked and accessed his situation, it quickly became apparent why he was struggling.  The problem - he was always in children's ministry.  He never went to the adult worship service and he never got outside of the children's ministry area to invite new people to volunteer.  These two struggles were linked together.  When you don't have enough volunteers, you aren't free to attend an adult service and when you can't get outside of the children's ministry area, it's hard to meet new people you can invite to serve.  See the cycle it creates?

The truth is...as a children's ministry leader...you shouldn't always be in the children's ministry area.  Why? 

First of all, you must stay filled up yourself if you are going to pour into others.  You can't give what you don't have.  It's important for your own spiritual health and for the health of the ministry you lead, to regularly attend the adult worship service.  And it needs to be in person.  Watching the service later online is not the same thing.  You need to physically be in a worship service.  This is also important because you are leading by example.  If you are encouraging your volunteers to be in an adult service, then show them by example how important it is.

Which leads to the second big reason why you shouldn't always be in children's ministry.  Where are you going to find new volunteers?  One place you're not going to find them is inside children's ministry.  In other words, you have to get outside of children's ministry if you want to get new volunteers for children's ministry.   Think about it using this comparison.  What does a football scout / recruiter do?  He leaves the team and goes out looking for talented people that he can invite to be part of the team.  He goes out to the potential players.  That's what you've got to do.  Leave children's ministry sometimes and go out to other areas of the church and invite people to join your team.  Go to the new member's class.  Go to the baptistry area.  Go to the student ministry service.  Go to the men's ministry.  Go to the women's ministry.  Go to the senior adults gathering.   I talk more about this in my new book "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams."  

The other reason I will mention why you don't always need to be in children's ministry is because you need to empower volunteers to lead.  Our job as children's ministry leaders is to empower volunteers to lead the ministry.  We must spend more time equipping others for the work of the ministry than we do actually doing the ministry ourselves.  Want to know how you are doing with this?  Here's a simple test.  Can you walk away from the ministry for a service and everything runs just fine without you present?  That should be your goal.  And when this happens, it will free you up to get outside of children's ministry to attend a service and to invite others to join the team.

Take some time today to think about these questions. 

Am I regularly attending the adult worship service?

Can I leave the children's ministry area and it runs fine without me?

Do I regularly go outside of children's ministry to invite people to join our team?

Am I empowering volunteers to own and lead the ministry?  
Remember...if you are never away from children's ministry, you will burn out in children's ministry.

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