Getting Started in Children’s Mnistries – Part 2

Continuing from last time…

Regarding Volunteer Leadership

If you have a genuine passion for children and ministering to kids, you’re not in it for the money or the limelight.  But that doesn’t mean that your time, efforts, and expertise should go unrewarded or unrecognized.  While you don’t need your name in lights or top billing on the marquee, a little thanks and appreciation go a long way.   A church that’s willing to pay for your expertise says volumes about how it values children’s ministries vs. a church with similar resources that isn’t.

So if you’re being recruited to serve in a strictly ad hoc or volunteer basis, make sure you know what you’re getting into – particularly the amount of time you’re expected to devote to this role and whether or not you have responsibility without authority.

Questions to Consider:

If the church or organization is simply unable to offer you a paid position “upon hire,” what are the chances that your role will become a paid position, even part-time?   Does  church leadership truly value volunteers, or is their approach one of “grind ’em up, spit ’em out”?  How will leadership support you and your team?  What resources are available – financial, staffing, scheduling, space, etc.?  What about spiritual growth and enrichment opportunities for C.M. staff – conferences, prayer teams, seminars, retreats, on-line learning, etc.?

Writes Tyropne Roderick Williams in Leadership That Lasts:

Reward those who have taken upon themselves this high call of nurturing the church’s children. When volunteers serve in an environment where they are validated and appreciated two things happen: Turnover is reduced and individuals are more willing to take on leadership responsibilities.

I’ve been at many churches that have perfected the ministry of appreciation, and they all have one thing in common: They go out of their way to let their volunteers know they’re special and valued. Showing such appreciation doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. On days when they serve, provide complimentary CDs of the message in the main service. Throw an occasional workers-only special event for those who help out in the children’s ministry. Hand out certificates of appreciation. These are all inexpensive but effective ways to say “thank you.”

Also Note:

– Is a written job description available – or in process? (If the person(s) you’re asking looks at you with a blank stare, take that as a clue that they’re looking for an amateur and that’s not you.)

Ask:

*Many questions during your job interview, including, “How will conflicts be resolved?”

Notice

*If the senior pastor avoids eye contact with you or treats you condescendingly.

Follow-up

*The interview with a typed memo of understandings, expectations, and job requirements.

Most importantly, ask God.  Is this where He wants you, what He has for you?  Quiet the internal chatter and ask God what He thinks about this.  Pause.  Listen.  Repeat the question in an attitude of surrender.  Pause and listen some more.  He may bring a passage of Scripture to mind, a verse from a song, a conversation or an observation from a friend. Put Him and His will front and center.

What Matters Most

Finally, ministering to this crucial demographic – children – isn’t something to be entered into lightly, rashly, or unadvisedly.  Children’s ministries can be  mountains of work and truckloads of fun.  Working with kids offers tons of challenge, adventure, intrigue and growth opportunities.  It’s one of the most rewarding, exasperating, hair-raising, humbling, dynamic, demanding, exhausting and exhilarating ministries around.   Ministering to children is also one of the grandest, most glorious adventures on the planet.  But if you’re doing it for yourself or someone else rather than for the Lord and for the kids – please find something else to do.  And remember that “little victories” matter.  MOST.


Join us next time for “Communication in Ministry: Essential or Optional?” followed by a three-part series on “Social Media in Ministry.”

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