5 Surprises for New Children's Ministry Leaders

There are 2 young leaders in my coaching program.  They are fresh out of college and are ready to make an impact for Christ.  

They are about to find out that while Bible college and seminary are great, there is so much more they will learn by leading in real time and gaining hands on experience. 

Let's look at 5 surprises new children's ministry leaders may experience as they enter vocational ministry.  These are also great for veteran leaders who want to hit the reboot button and get back to the basics of children's ministry.

#1 - Children's ministry is more about adult volunteers than it is about kids.  Remember this quote:

The success of your ministry rises and falls on the strength of the volunteer team you build.

You may be a great teacher and fun leader, but if you can't enlist and equip adult volunteers, you will have a tough time.  No matter how good you are with kids, you should spend the biggest park of the week building your volunteer team.

Need help with building your volunteer team?  Then get my book "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams."  It contains the formula I used to build a volunteer team of 2,600 in a children's ministry I led.  It has been called the best book ever written on the subject.

#2 - Connecting with parents is just as important as connecting with the kids.  What kids learn on the weekend is important.  But just as important is what learn from their parents during the week. Build a solid parent connection and equip them with the resources they need to disciple their children.

#3 - The most difficult person you will lead is yourself. Look in a mirror.  The reflection you see is your greatest challenge.  The Bible says this 1 Timothy 4:7...

Pay close attention to yourself and to the teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

As you lead yourself well, it will empower you and enable you to lead others well. 

#4 - Knowledge and fun can be brought together when teaching kids.  You can use games to teach kids.  You can use contests to teach kids.  You can use humor to teach kids.  

Smiling can equal learning.  

Laughter can equal learning. 

Noise can equal learning. 

Talking can equal learning. 

Your goal should be for kids to be dragging their parents to church rather than parents having to drag their children to church.

#5 - People are not perfect...even in the church house.  A few months ago, I invited a friend to come to church.  He and his wife came, but arrived a few minutes late.  When they finally made it into the auditorium, the service had already started.  They saw two empty seats near the back and so they made their way to those seats. 

They finally got seated and suddenly a man came to their seats and rudely informed them that those two seats were reserved for another family...they would have to get up and move somewhere else.  They quietly got up and moved.  But it obviously bothered them them that they were treated that way as guests.

There are rude people at every church.  There are inconsiderate people at every church.  There are angry people at every church.  There are people with bad attitudes at every church.  There are selfish people at every church. 

As a ministry leader, you will have to deal with all of these types of people.  Ask God to give you wisdom and strength as you do so.  

It's like Noah's ark.  The mission God sent them on was perfect.  But they still had to deal with lots of poop on the ark.  It was probably very smelly.  Think about all those animals and the stench that emanated from them all crowded into the ark.  

But Noah and his family saw past all of that.  The mission God had placed them on outweighed the foul smells they experienced along the way.  

Stay focused as a ministry leader.  Keep your eyes on Jesus and the mission He has placed you on. 

Your turn.  What are some other things that have surprised you on your leadership journey?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.