Jul 21, 2021

20 Mistakes Children's Pastors Make

Here are 20 mistakes children's pastors make.  I know this because I have made many of these. 

If you are reading this, hopefully it will save you from making these mistakes. 

Experience is a good teacher. You can avoid making the same mistake twice if you are teachable and learn from your mistakes.

Okay...let's take a look at 20 mistakes children's pastors make.

#1 - Doing more than equipping.  Ephesians 4 makes it clear that our role is to equip people for the work of the ministry rather than trying to do it all by ourselves.

#2 - Not paying attention to the details.  We had just gotten in new ministry shirts for our volunteers. One of our team members was assigned to send out an email to all of our volunteers to remind them to come by and pick up their shirt on Sunday.  But the person missed one small detail in the email. Somehow she left the "r" out of shirt in the email.  Yep.  You got it.  An email went out to all of our volunteers to come by and pick up their sh#t on Sunday.  Details matter a lot. Even when it's something as small as one letter.

#3 - Skipping a quiet time because you have too much going on.  You can get so busy that you start missing your time with Jesus.  If you are not careful, you will end up working for Jesus, but not spending time with Jesus. This will lead to a powerless ministry.  It is by spending time with Jesus that we experience God's anointing and power at work in us and through us.

#4 - Taking your eyes off of Jesus.  Just like Peter trying to walk on the water, we can let the problems, issues, decisions, politics and doubt cause us to take our eyes off of Jesus.  It's a fact. You will experience heartache, betrayal and disappointment in ministry.  But don't let those things take your eyes off of Jesus.

#5 - Reacting instead of acting.  I was away one weekend and when I came back to my office on Monday, it was filled with decorations.  One of the ladies in the church had chose to put all her decorations in my office for a day or so.  I could barely move around in the office.  Instead of acting, I reacted.  I took all her decorations out of my office and piled them up in the hallway.  I even put a sign on the decorations that said, "Dale's office is not a storage room."  

The lady came in and found out what I had done and started crying.  I then realized how my reacting had caused drama and sadness.  I should have acted by first calling her and asking if I could help her find a place for the decorations or better yet, let her know she could leave them in my office for as long as needed.

#6 - Trying to lead by your title.  People don't follow a title.  They follow someone they love and respect.  The old saying is true - people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

#7 - Not following through on a promise.  Your word should be your bond. When you make a promise to a staff member, parent, volunteer or child, make sure you follow through and do what you promised. People should know when you tell them you will take care of something that it will be done.

#8 - Bringing problems to your direct report without possible solutions.  Just sharing a problem is whining and complaining.  Sharing about a problem and bringing 2-3 possible fixes, is called leadership.

#9 - Not focusing on your #1 priority - building a great volunteer team.  The success of your ministry will rise and fall on the strength of the volunteer team you build. If you had to sum up your job description in one word, that word should be "volunteers."

#10 - Not reading.  Leaders are readers.  Schedule yourself a minimum of 5 books to read per year and preferably 10 books a year. 

#11 - Not attending the adult service.  It's important to be part of the adult service so you can first and foremost grow spiritually.  It will also help you keep in touch with the big picture of the church.

#12 - Not having mentors.  You should have 3 mentors in your life.  One mentor should be younger than you.  They can help you stay in touch with current culture.  Another mentor should be a person that has been in ministry about the same time as you.  They face many of the same problems that you do.  The final mentor should be someone who has been in ministry longer than you.  They have been down the road farther than you and can help you navigate what is coming.                       

#13 - Working on your day off.  Take your day off.  Don't fall into the trap of working 7 days in a row and not taking a break.  It will catch up with you.  You can burn out doing what you love.

#14 - Not using your vacation time.  This goes along with the previous point.  Make sure you are using your vacation time.  You need the time away. 

#15 - Trying to save the world. A passion for reaching people who are far from God is so important in ministry.  Your heart should break for the families in your community that don't know Jesus.  But remember. you can't save them.  That job has already been filled by Jesus.  Your role is to sow faith seeds and then watch God bring the harvest.

#16 - Not setting a sustainable pace.  Ministry is a marathon not a sprint.  Find a steady pace that you can maintain for the distance.

#17 - Not getting parents involved.  Parents are the number one influence in a child's life.  Create a spiritual partnership with them.  When you get parents teaching their children what you are teaching them at church, the impact is exponential. 

#18 - Trying to copy 100% of what another ministry is doing.  I used to go to conferences or visit churches and come home ready to put what I saw into action.  The problem was in some cases it wasn't a fit for our church and I tried to force it.  Learn from other churches.  But be the church God has called to reach your community.

#19 - Trying to run in someone else's lane.  Paul reminds us that he has finished His course...not someone else's.  God has created a course just for you.  Your only competition is yourself.  You have unique abilities and gifts that God has given you.  Always strive to be a better you.  No one else can be you.

#20 - Not being flexible.  Change.  It's inevitable in ministry.  Hold onto the ministry with open hands.  Be ready to shift and adjust as needed.  

Your turn. 

What are some other mistakes children's pastor's make?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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