Help Wanted: Children's Ministry
Scenario from Help! I'm a Pastor
by Steve Backlund
Pastor Ned Helps has a church of 100 people. One of his members, Phil Thuneed, has been voluntarily doing children’s ministry every week. Phil mentioned recently that he is feeling burnt out and desiring to serve elsewhere. The last volunteer that expressed interest did not show up. For the last four months, no one has responded to the verbal requests for help in children’s ministry. Pastor Helps is faced with a tough situation. He doesn’t know how to relieve Phil and still have this ministry continue without him. What would you do?
LIES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SCENARIO
- If I ask for help in the church too much, people will get annoyed and stop coming to church.
- Children’s ministry is only a stepping stone to real ministry.
- Anyone who does not want to serve in our children’s ministry is a bad Christian.
- I am not an empowering enough leader to inspire people to want to help in children’s ministry.
LIFE AND LEADERSHIP CORE VALUES* TO CONSIDER
- Core Value #8 – I pursue “buy in” from leaders and key people involved before making a big decision.
- Core Value #42 – I am primarily a developer of leaders.
- Core Value #66 – I motivate people through vision instead of guilt and manipulation.
- Core Value #69 – Children do not have a junior Holy Spirit.
- Core Value #45 – I give generously in the areas where I have need.
DISCERNING WHAT GOD IS DEVELOPING IN ME
- I am learning how to create a culture that values the next generation and is excited to invest in them.
- I have the opportunity to inspire, raise up, and equip new leaders for children’s ministry.
- I get to believe in a greater way that the Lord will provide for all my needs and those of my people.
QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE TAKING ACTION
- Who on our leadership team can I strategize a plan with?
- What are five things I can do to create greater vision for children’s ministry?
- What are other churches doing that is working?
- Have I realized and responded to the main reasons people do not want to serve?
- How could we pay for a part time person to lead this ministry?
PRACTICAL STEPS TO CONSIDER
1. Personally lead a meeting for parents of children and others interested in children’s ministry – Here is an idea that will help bring breakthrough in any area of need in the church: Call a meeting for people who have a heart for a particular ministry. Lead this meeting as the senior leader (unless your church is large enough to have another leader lead). Share your heart with the group. Take time to pray about this need. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak. Let people share what they believe God is saying. Discuss strategies. Conclude on an action step or steps. Meet again in a few months. Through these meetings, identify those with integrity, who are passionate, and have your core values to be on a team to help in the ministry.
2. Move forward in becoming a church parents want to attend – Some practical steps include: a) Clean up the nursery. b) Have a family pastor. c) Support local schools. d) Have a Moms group. e) Include practical helps for families in sermons, blogs, social media, and in other ways. f) Have annual parenting classes and marriage training. g) Find ways to be a strength to single parents. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of simply noticing and being kind to the children in your church. All parents love to be around those who think their kids are special.
3. Do what you can now to see children powerfully impacted by the gospel – Studies have shown most Christians came to faith as a child or were strongly influenced to do so from a childhood experience. Even if your children’s ministry is struggling, there are things you can do to impact children: children’s camps, Vacation Bible Schools, prayer meetings for children, after school clubs, special services for children, and having children participate in training for things such as praying for the sick. Find ways to bless and honor children during services.
- I communicate about needs in my ministry with vision and inspiration.
- My high-level beliefs attract outstanding children’s workers.
- The children of our church are the next world leaders. Signs and wonders follow them.
*Read all 80 life and leadership core values for pastors in Steve Backlund's book, Help! I'm a Pastor. More info below.
About Help! I'm a Pastor
Help! I Am a Pastor addresses many common situations in church life that few seem really prepared for. It gives tools to successfully addressing these happenings with humor, healthy beliefs, and divine strategies. The truths presented will help every church leader become more proactive in his or her leadership, plus be able to equip their teams with the core values necessary to create healthy ministries.
This book includes 80 life and leadership core values and 50 scenarios.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.