10 Keys to Effectively Leading a Children's Ministry

Leading a children's ministry is not an easy task.  It requires some very important leadership skills.

Let's take a close look at 10 of the keys you need to have to lead a children's ministry effectively. 

1. Self-leadership.  I put this first because I believe it is the most important aspect of leading a children's ministry. 

You must be able to lead the person you see in the mirror each day.  

It is critical that you, as the leader, continue to grow and improve.  

You can't lead people to where you have not been.
Everything rises and falls on leadership.  This rings true in children's ministry as well.  

As a leader in children's ministry, you must lead yourself well.  The ministry will never rise above your level of leadership.  If you want to see your children's ministry flourish, then you must flourish as a leader. 

Look what Rick Warren said about this.

"Growing organizations require growing leaders. The moment you stop growing your organization stops growing.” 

and this...

"Years ago, I stopped worrying about how to grow our church and instead focused on growing me.  As I grew me, our church grew."

 2. Motivational skills.  You must be able to motivate your volunteers.  

Let them see the part they are playing in making a significant difference in the lives of kids and families. 

Share the stories of the lives that have been changed through their service.  

Lead with passion and enthusiasm.  

You must be a thermostat instead of a thermometer.  A thermostat controls the temperature, while a thermometer just reads the temperature.  You must be the person that controls the temperature of the ministry. 

3. Team building.  You will find out quickly in children's ministry that it is first and foremost about the volunteers who minister to the children and families.  Without a volunteer team, there is no children's ministry.  

It's not about what you can do.  Rather, it is about what you can empower others to do. 

The Bible is clear in Ephesians 6 that our role as leaders is to equip people for the work of the ministry. 

If someone looked at your weekly schedule, how much time are you spending doing ministry vs equipping others to do the work of the ministry?  

The majority of your time should be spent building a team.

4. Vision casting.  An effective leader provides his/her team with a clear vision.  The vision should be precise and powerful.  

Vision casting is not a one and done.  We must remember that vision leaks.  An effective leader knows this and continues to point people to the vision long-term.

5. Connecting with parents.  Effective leadership in children's ministry is ministry that also equips, encourages and partners with parents.  

We know that parents are the greatest influence in the lives of children.  That being true, we must strive to influence the greatest influencers. 

An effective children's ministry is always thinking, "How can we empower parents to lead their children well spiritually?"

6. Conflict resolution.  You mean there is "conflict" in children's ministry?  Yes and yes.  Parents get upset.  Volunteers get angry.  Staff members have trouble with other staff members.  

Where there are humans, there is conflict.  This being said, an effective leader will not sweep conflict under the rug.  He/she will help people resolve conflict.  

Unity is key to seeing a children's ministry flourish.  Effective leaders will guard the unity of their team.

7. Encouragement.  Encouraging people in children's ministry is so important.  Use the words "thank you" every week.  65% of volunteers say they never hear those words.  Don't be that leader.  Say "thank you for serving and making a difference" every week.  

Write a personal thank you note to volunteers on a consistent basis.  Show your volunteers that you really care about them and are thankful for their ministry.

8. Feedback.  Feedback will help you grow the ministry.  

Gather feedback from volunteers and parents on a regular basis.

How are we doing?

How can we get better?

What are some changes that need to be made?

Feedback also applies to giving volunteers feedback.  Help them grow through feedback.  The goal of the feedback is to help them get better.  

An effective leader also solicits personal feedback.  He/she asks people to help uncover his/her blind spots so they can be a more effective leader.

9. TenacityLet's be real.  Children's ministry can be taxing. Volunteers quit.  Programs flop.  Families leave to start attending a different church.  Discouragement comes.  Failures emerge.  

You will get knocked down at times.  But an effective leader gets back up and keeps going.  They learn from their failures and continue moving forward.

Effective leaders go the distance.  They pace themselves so they can finish the race God has placed before them.  They finish strong and it's because they are tenacious.

10. Servant hood.  An effective leader is a servant-leader. 

It's not about how many people serve you.  It's about how many people you serve.

Jesus was a servant leader.  He showed this when He washed the disciples' feet. 

He wants us to be that kind of leader. 

If you haven't read my book "Lead Well in Children's Ministry" it's a great leadership resource for children's ministry.  It covers all the areas you need to lead in children's ministry.  

It includes...

Lead Yourself Well 

Lead the Ministry Well

Lead Up Well

Lead Parents Well

Lead Volunteers Well

...and much more. 

You can get your copy at this link