Constructing a Team to Serve in Ministry to Children

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Your team is the foundation of your Sunday school ministry. Whether you have 10 kids or 1,000,  the people you bring alongside you to invest in your kids will be the greatest determiner of effective ministry. That’s why it’s critical to choose, vet, equip, and encourage them well. Today, let’s take a look at choosing your team. Here’s what to consider as you begin building your team…
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1. Competency- When you form a leadership team, you ask all sort of questions: commitment questions, 

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getting-to-know-you questions, how-long-have-you-been-a-believer questions. They’re necessary

questions, but if you want to operate at a high level, you have to assess skill.

Here’s what I’ve discovered: You cannot train everybody for children’s ministry. There are people who simply don’t have the basic skills or temperament they need to be effective and other people who simply don’t want to learn. And the fact that a potential leader has taught before in another program somewhere doesn’t mean much. Maybe that person taught badly back at his or her former church.

You need people who are competent. They have skills that can be sharpened, and they’re willing to grow in their ministry skills. Ask potential leaders to tell you about times they felt that they really connected with kids. How did they do it? What sort of lessons do they enjoy teaching? How do their philosophies of Christian education line up with your ministry’s philosophy? Ask questions about how they’d handle specific discipline situations. What skills do you see? What skills do you need to see? Are you involving people who can actually do the tasks that need to be done?

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2. Commitment- If you want a high-level ministry team, it’s going to take work. Be honest with potential leaders about that right up front. You’re looking for leaders who want to serve and are willing to grow in their abilities as servants in children’s ministry. That’s going to require time and effort.

Here’s a tip for getting new leaders to stick: Start small.

First invite potential leaders to do gateway commitments (small task-oriented projects that require little or no equipping). Once new leaders experience how great it is to minister to children, they usually come back for a little more responsibility. The key is to never let them walk away discouraged.

3. Consistency- If a leader is going to come in contact with a child, try to have that person to be involved every week. If the leader can only give time every other week, fine—there are ministry opportunities that person can do too.

It’s a matter of doing what’s best for the kids we serve. Who’s more effective in classrooms dealing with children: someone who rotates through a classroom once a month, or the leader who’s there week after week? the person who walks through the door to share information, or the leader who knows children well enough to share life?

The Holy Spirit can use either leader, and we expect every leader to share accurate, biblical information.

For sheer impact, the leader who’s invested in the kids will win every time.

Consider the numbers: If Nancy serves once a month, that’s approximately twelve hours per year she’s with kids. If Beth serves every week, that’s approximately fifty-two hours per year. On average, Beth sees the children in class four times more than the monthly teacher. That’s forty extra opportunities to build relationships, increase community, and communicate a different and deeper type of care!

It’s a common practice to recruit tons of leaders so that nobody has to be with the kids more than a few times per month, but is that approach the best way to encourage your kids to grow spiritually? Won’t your kids be better served if they have a significant adult with whom they’re comfortable opening up to talk? Remember that you’re not just recruiting teachers, you’re also developing leaders. Build in time for those mentoring relationships to develop.

4. Chemistry- As you bring your leaders on board and move them along, look for ways to help your team develop chemistry. That’s when serving in ministry gets to be really fun. As you recruit leaders, keep these four characteristics in mind: competency, commitment, consistency, and chemistry. When you find people who have all those, they’re going to thrive and find joy in serving in children’s ministry.

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You can find more tips, along with many other kidmin leaders strategies in the book Children’s Ministry That Works. Create an effective children’s ministry with help from the top experts! For over 10 years, Children’s Ministry That Works has been helping ministry leaders create dynamic and effective ministry programs in churches across the country. Now, completely revised and updated, this new version will help you be successful for the next 10 years!

How do you choose your team? Let us know in the comment section below!

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About Author

David Jennings

David has served kids around the world for the majority of his life. From Texas to Romania, he has followed where God has led him. Most recently, he served for six years as a children's director in the great state of Alabama before moving to Colorado to work for Group as an associate editor.

1 Comment

  1. Good evening. I belong to a small Seventh Day Adventist church in east Tennessee. Over the last 30 years I have attended sporadically as the ebb and flow of transitioning pastors came and went. Then 5 years ago, we finally had a pastor that was tired of “playing fort” and we started to look outside the comfort zone and local membership. After all, with 50-70 people attending church, with the vast majority over the age of 60, it was a dying church. So we started an outreach. It started with a family of 4, whose parents did not want to come to church. Within a month, I was picking up 18 kids in my suburban. After many months of overloaded vehicles, the church invested in a 20 passenger bus. Last Wednesday night, we had 36 kids on that bus.

    Thus the problem. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Many of the children have either one or both parents in prison, with many from very broken and dysfunctional families. Currently, the only real workers that are involved are myself, at age 60, my son and daughter whom both are still at home, ages 24 and 26, and a retired forestry service guy that has had national conference leadership rolls in the “pathfinder” program. And while that experience is great, much of it does not apply or is of little use to the current group of “children” we are serving. They range in age from 3-17. We have been struggling for the last two plus years, and with the loss of several of the other support personnel within the church, we are beginning to falter I think. Not to mention trying to run a business that is suffering because I have placed in in second place to the effort at the church.

    Currently, we are picking the kids up twice a week, Saturdays and Wednesdays, with some odd days thrown in for field trips of various types.

    We are praying for 1, new workers 2, additional help in providing programing for non traditional children in the church (those without a family structure) 3, any ideas to improve drastically what we are doing at this time.

    Anything you can suggest is appreciated. I will be signing up for the news letter next week, as soon as I can afford it.

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