Resolve to do these five things, and you'll open the
door to better children's ministry.
Resolutions. We've all made them at some point or another. Most
likely, though, our resolutions were things we wanted to happen --
mere wishes -- and not things we were intentionally committing
ourselves to pursue.
Lose weight. Get fit. Read more. Spend more time with the kids.
Whatever they may be, our resolutions are usually pretty good
ideas. They're things that, if they did happen, would greatly
benefit us in some way or another. Unfortunately, we often don't
follow through, and resolutions become regrets.
In children's ministry, as in any area of life, there are goals
worth pursuing. Goals that, if committed to, would greatly benefit
our ministry to kids. There are resolutions worth making, and I
encourage you to consider making these five simple resolutions as
you minister to kids.
Immerse my ministry in prayer.
Oswald Chambers once said, "Prayer does not equip us for the
greater works, prayer is the greater work." Our ministry to kids
should flow from our time with God! Jesus, throughout the gospels,
demonstrates this principle. What did Jesus do before times of
great ministry? He went away somewhere, usually during his "off"
time, and prayed. If Jesus needed to pray to minister effectively,
how much more so do we?
You don't know what to pray for? Follow Jesus' example from John 17. Jesus started by praying for himself,
then he prayed for those around him (his disciples), and then for
the community of believers as a whole. This is a great model to
follow as we pray for ourselves in children's ministry, for other
children's ministry team members, and for the kids and families we
minister to. As we do this, our ministry will flow from God through
us and be more effective than we could ever imagine.
Understand the kids I minister to.
As a preschool Sunday school teacher, do you know the age-level
characteristics of preschoolers? As a fifth- and sixth-grade
teacher, do you understand some of the challenges of ministering to
this age group? And do you know what causes little Johnny to be so
quiet and aloof in your second-grade class? Have you found out
about his family life? What do you know about personality types?
To truly minister to children, understanding all these areas is
critical. As one who's called to children's ministry, it's your
obligation to invest time and effort into understanding kids. Add a
few minutes every week to your preparation time to learn about who
kids are. Perhaps you could visit the family of one of your kids
each week or every two weeks to get to know that child's world. A
general understanding will revolutionize your perception of your
kids and the way you present yourself and your teaching.
Develop my ministry skills.
All of us can improve in most areas, and ministry is no exception.
The question is, "Are we actively pursuing improvement?" Here are
three easy ways to proactively develop your children's ministry
l Read. There are many wonderful written resources to help us
develop our leadership or teaching skills. (For recommendations, go
to www.cmmag.com.) Commit to reading just a small amount every day,
or one resource per month; you'll be surprised how much you can
learn and what new ideas might find their way to your
• Attend at least one training event each year. Attending a
training event not only exposes you to the content presented, but
also to networking opportunities with those who are in the trenches
with you. Attending just one event can make a big difference.
• Find someone who knows more than you do. Finding a mentor can
often make the difference between ongoing frustration and critical
skill development in your ministry. Don't be afraid to ask someone
with more experience and a greater understanding to help you
Create new and deeper relationships.
Ministry happens best through relationships -- period! In fact, if
it comes down to following a program (or curriculum) or investing
in relationships, the latter should win out every time. If this is
true, then we as children's ministers need to invest ourselves in
building relationships with kids, parents, and each other. Two easy
ways to build relationships are to take time with each individual
to ask questions and listen carefully, and be open to share
yourself with the person. Authentic relationships result in deeper,
more meaningful ministry.
Serve with passion.
What a privilege it is to serve in children's ministry! Now, more
than ever, we need to reach kids. Are you committed to this
calling? Are you serving passionately with a sense of urgency, or
are you serving more from a sense of duty -- going through the
motions because no one else will take your place? Children's
ministry is a vital ministry in your church, deserving and
demanding passionate servants. If you're called to children's
ministry, you must pour yourself out for the little ones you serve.
And for those times when your passion is waning, return to
resolution #1. When your ministry is immersed in prayer, it's hard
not to serve with passion.
Resolutions. There are some that are worth resolving to do. Commit
to these five resolutions this year and see how your ministry
grows, how you grow, and how you can have a deep impact on the
lives of children in your ministry.
Greg Baird is founder and director of Kids In Focus Ministries
(www.KidsInFocus.org), a children's ministry
training and coaching organization based in San Diego.