How to Become an Expert in Children & Family Ministry

Do you want to become an expert in children and family ministry?

Here are some steps you can take to become an expert. 

Decide you are going to be in children and family ministry for the long haul.

If you are using your role in children and family ministry as simply a stepping stone to "something bigger and better," you will probably not become an expert.

Committing to being in it for the long haul plays a major factor in becoming or not becoming an expert.  Stats show that people who make a long-term commitment do 400% better than short-termers.

Be patient. Becoming an expert overnight just isn't going to happen. You are going to have to put a lot of work and dedication into becoming an expert at anything. Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a particular field. 

Find a mentor.  Timothy had Paul.  Elisha had Elijah.  Joshua had Moses.  The disciples had Jesus. Find someone who cares about you and wants to help you grow.  Someone who will invest in you and encourage you to become the leader God wants you to be. 

Schedule regular time with your mentor to talk and discuss pertinent topics. Ask questions. Watch how they interact with people.  Make notes about how they lead a team.  

You can grow and go farther together.  Don't fly solo.

Read. Read. Read.   Experts are readers.  Consistently read books about leadership, children and family ministry and leading teams.  Make notes and make summaries about what you want to implement and personally grow into.

Always be learning more about children and family ministry.  

Dive into some online courses. 

Attend as many conferences as you can.  

Listen to podcasts related to your field. 

Jump into some coaching programs where you can learn from seasoned veterans.  

Network with other leaders.

Call ministry experts and ask them a list of key questions.  

Visit other ministries and learn from them. 

Get hands-on experience.  One of the best ways to become an expert is to get involved in serving in children and family ministry.  There are some things you simply can't learn in a classroom.  Clock as many serving hours in children and family ministries as your schedule allows.   

I recently read this quote from James Waters. He is a Navy SEAL platoon commander.

You go spend 100 hours reading books on Mixed Martial Arts. I’ll spend just 50 hours sparring. Then we’ll fight. Who’s going to win? Exactly.

I also read this quote from Dan Coyle. Look what he says about hands-on experience.

Our brains learn by doing things, not by hearing about them. This is one of the reasons that, for a lot of skills, it’s much better to spend about two thirds of your time testing yourself on it rather than absorbing it. There’s a rule of two thirds. If you want to, say, memorize a passage, it’s better to spend 30 percent of your time reading it, and the other 70 percent of your time testing yourself on that knowledge.

To become an expert, follow the advice of James 1:22.

But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it.

Remember...practice makes perfect.  I would say practice can make you an expert.

Ask for feedback.  One of the best ways to grow is to ask for feedback.  Ask trusted friends to watch how you teach, watch how you lead, watch how you interact with children and families and how you invest in volunteers. Ask them to give you feedback from what they have observed.  Take this feedback and use it to become an expert.

Learn from your mistakes.  Fall forward.  All of the experts in their fields went through times of failure. But that didn't stop them.  They used the failures as stepping stones.  

While Walt Disney had many successes, he also saw his share of failures including a bankruptcy, a mental breakdown, a devastating strike, and the loss of control over his creation Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
Look at what he said about this.
All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles have strengthened me. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
Focus on the one thing you want to be an expert in.  Trying to learn too many things at one time will frustrate you.  Focus.  Focus.  Focus. 
We need experts in children and family ministry.  Is God calling you to give your life to reaching kids and their parents?  
At the end of the day, the reason we strive to become an expert is so that we can be more effective in our calling and pointing people to Jesus. 

Here are some of my resources that can help you become an expert in children and family ministry. Each has a link where you can get more information.