Aug 2, 2017

World's Worst Children's Pastor

Children's ministry is obviously about ministering to kids.  But it's also just as much, if not even more, about leading the volunteers who minister to the kids.  If you want to be an effective children's ministry pastor, then you've got to be good at leading volunteers.  You can be great with the kids, but if you're not good with the volunteers, you might just earn yourself the title of "Worlds Worst Children's Pastor."

If you want to avoid earning this title, then take some cues from Jeff Bezos, who is the owner of Amazon.  Even though he was recently named the wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth exceeding $90 billion, he was also named the World's Worst Boss by the International Trade Union Confederation in 2014.  A New York Times article revealed some of the unhealthy sides of the company. 

Not respecting people's personal time.  Emails were sent past midnight and then followed by text messages asking why they weren't answered.  Fathers quit because of pressure to spend less time with their family.  Long conference calls were held on Easter Sunday and Thanksgiving day.  Expectations to work during vacation and working at home most nights and weekends were there.  This crossed the line into people's personal time.

If you want to be the World's Worst Children's Pastor, then cross the line into your volunteers' personal time.  Have mandatory training events that take people away from their families too often.  Send too many emails.  Complain when volunteers are gone on vacation.  Call them during dinner time.  

Using people as a means to an end.  Workers who suffered from cancer, miscarriages and other personal crises said they had been evaluated unfairly or moved out rather than being given time to recover.  You could often see people crying at their desks from emotional turmoil.  In 2011, a warehouse in Pennsylvania was investigated when workers toiled in more than 100-degree heat with no air-conditioning.  Ambulances waited outside to take them away when they got heat exhaustion.  A mother of a stillborn child said, "I had just experienced the most devastating event in my life, only to be told my performance would be monitored to make sure I stayed focused on my job."

If you want to be the World's Worst Children's Pastor, then use people to build the ministry rather than using the ministry to build people.  Place volunteers in vacant ministry roles with no regard to their spiritual gifts and passion.  Don't make time to build relationships with them.  Don't check on them when they are sick.  Don't worry about being a shepherd.  Use them to reach the ministry goals at any cost.

Overworking people.  Employees were told when they hit the wall...to climb the wall.  As mentioned previously, work hours were unreasonable and caused people to work at night, on weekends and even during holidays.  This resulted in high employee turnover.  The average tenure of an employ was one year.  There was a steady exodus.  Burn and churn was the norm. 

If you want to be the World's Worst Children's Pastor, then ask volunteers to stay over and work an extra service.  Have them serve and never attend a worship service.  Ask them to serve in several different roles.  Make them feel guilty for taking a Sunday off.   Never take time to say "thank you" or show any appreciation. 

Not using direct communication.  Employees are encouraged to send secret feedback to each others' bosses.  It is frequently used to sabotage other employees in a quest to get ahead and climb the ladder.  This results in disunity and tension between employees. 

If you want to be the World's Worst Children's Pastor, then criticize your volunteers behind their back.  Avoid giving them direct feedback.  Avoid having hard conversations that need to be had.  Allow gossip and backbiting.  Don't communicate important information to your volunteers.  Leave them in the dark on what's coming.  Send them lesson plans at the last minute.  Don't respond to their emails.  Don't return their phone calls.  Don't ask for their feedback.  When they send you feedback, ignore it. 

Do these things you and you'll earn the title of World's Worst Children's Pastor with your volunteers.  I know you don't want that title.  Lead well.  The success of your ministry depends on it.  You can get more great tips on leading volunteers well in my book "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams."  It's available in ebook and paperback at this link.

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