Finding Support: A Foundational Issue



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Presidential candidates, sports teams and families need it.
Without it, bridges and buildings collapse.

Children’s ministers need support too. But when you build up
everyone else and don’t seek support for yourself, your ministry
and personal life may end up in a heap of rubble.

How do you get support? What has worked for others? We asked
several children’s ministers where they find support. Here are
their answers:

*Making time-Larry Miller of West Virginia takes time for
daily devotions and talks to God throughout the day. “The #1 thing
is my relationship with Christ for my personal support,” says

Kids love our Sunday School resources!

*Prayer groups-In addition to personal prayer, Brent Van
Elswyk has a group of women in his California church who pray for
him weekly.

Mark von Ehrenkrook, an Arizona children’s pastor, goes to a cabin
once a month with four friends —just to pray. And they meet once
a month for breakfast. “It’s that mutual accountability, someone
who’s challenging your beliefs and systems and encouraging you,”
says Mark. “This team has been an exciting network for spiritual

*Spouse-Tom Fethe of Tennessee says, “the most
significant source of support comes from my wife…Just by her
encouragement, I’m strengthened and helped.”

*Family time-When Linda Snyder of Virginia schedules
events that take her away from home, she schedules back-home time
to make up for it. “A lot of my staying unfrazzled is because my
family helps me unwind. And I don’t catch the flack of having them
always feeling they come last,” says Linda.

Straight to the Heart

*Friends-“Every time I get with my friends who are in
children’s ministry,” says Lauren Quagliata of Missouri, “I get new
ideas and encouragement. It’s encouraging just to know someone has
the same problem.”

Some of Larry Miller’s best friends are the laypeople on the
children’s leadership team. He meets with them twice a month and
throughout the week for support.

*National conferences-Children’s ministers build lifelong
relationships at national conferences. “Even though [participants] live far away, we can call any time, talk and kick around ideas,”
says Brent Van Elswyk.

*Local groups-Adam Luna of Colorado benefits from monthly
meetings of area children’s ministers. “We also meet for social
events,” says Adam. “We don’t have to deal with heavy issues that
we address at later times. That’s been a great benefit to

*Staff-Larry Miller’s church staff meets weekly. They
update each other on what they’re doing and anything they’re
struggling with. Larry says they brainstorm ideas to help each

*Children’s parents-Tom Fethe gets to know parents and
they become part of his support system. “Just by ministering to one
another, I’m the beneficiary,” says Tom. “I get to be encouraged
and strengthened by the parents of the children who are my

*Senior pastor-Larry Miller’s senior pastor was his
mentor when he first started children’s ministry. “He has always
been on my list of support systems when I need professional
objectivity,” says Larry.

Barbara Beach was departments assistant editor for CHILDREN’S
MINISTRY Magazine.

Copyright© Group Publishing, Inc. / Children’s Ministry

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