Children's Ministry in South Africa...An Inside Look

Last week, I flew to Johannesburg, South Africa to speak at a conference.  Children's ministry leaders from across the country gathered  for two days of training, connecting and sharing ministry ideas. 

The event was hosted by two churches.  Maranatha Church and Hatfield Church.  

Both of these are mega churches that are reaching thousands of people with the Gospel.

One thing that stood out to me about these churches is volunteer empowerment.  They have lots of volunteers, but they are also doing what many churches struggle with - creating layers of leaders.  They have created a culture of "volunteer staff."  Volunteers own the ministry.  Volunteer leaders direct the ministry with oversight by the children's pastor.   

It reminded me that in the U.S many children's ministries rely heavily on paid staff to lead the ministry.  While strong staff leadership is important, even more important is empowering volunteers to help lead the ministry.

I was also reminded that relationships are crucial for volunteers, children and their parents.  They strive to make sure every child is known and loved.  Volunteers also have close relations and many have been serving together for years.

Use what you've got.  Many of the churches that came to the training have very little resources.  But they don't let that stop them from making disciples.  I was challenged to spend less time complaining about what I don't have in the ministry and rather focus on what God has placed in my hands.  

Leadership is about serving others.  The people at these amazing churches understand that servant leadership is how Jesus led and henceforth should be how we lead.  The ministry leaders and volunteers go the second mile to serve others.

Unity among believers.  While there is racial tension in the country, the body of Christ is being a wonderful example of the beauty of racial unity.  Cultures and people groups coming together to win people to Christ and make disciples.  The body of Christ in Africa is showing what Biblical love means and giving us a glimpse of what heaven will be like, when people from all over the world will come together to worship and honor God.  

Here are some pictures from my time there.  I threw in a few "tourist" pictures as well. If you are ever in South Africa, be sure to stop by and check out these two churches.  You will be challenged, blessed and encouraged.