Worth the Risk


Taking calculated risks doesn’t mean you’re reckless or simply
prefer to ignore the consequences. In fact, if the responses we
received in our survey are an indicator-risks worth taking are
generally taken only after prayerful consideration-and almost
always require people to step out in faith.

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Our research makes it clear that a majority of children’s
ministers (83.1 percent) were willing to take major risks in their
ministry over the past year.

In light of increasing national unemployment figures and, in many
cases, decreasing budget numbers, this willingness to embrace
change speaks loudly of the bold and innovative nature of today’s
children’s ministry leaders.

We asked: What risk did you take in your ministry in the last

  • We started picking up kids in our van
    ministry not really knowing where the funds were going to come
  • We decided to take our ministry outside of
    our church…The children in our children’s ministry were able to
    mentor and share Christ with neighborhood children.
  • After a lot of prayer, I was led to change
    the way I teach the preschoolers-spending time experiencing the
    ways of God in the lesson not just the acts of God.
  • Closed the nursery because of a lack of
  • Changed curriculum for our children’s
    ministry…from traditional classroom setting…to Buzz by Group. Big
    change for everyone!
  • We did Family Jams on Wednesday nights
    throughout the summer instead of keeping families
  • Hosted a soccer camp for underprivileged
  • Started a staffed nursery ministry. The
    church was very against the idea. We funded it through donations
    and the church paid for none of it.
  • We added several programs completely,
    changed programs, and eliminated Sunday school for six weeks to
    give teachers a break.

While change is rarely easy and may
involve hurdles and barriers, those taking our survey found that
the benefits to their ministry far outweigh the risk when they
follow God’s lead.
When Anne Clay,
director of children’s ministries at Central Church in
Collierville, Tennessee, decided to drop its traditional VBS
program and replace it with a family-focused event, the decision
brought with it many serious risks.

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“It was a challenge to convince parents
that participating with their children was far better than dropping
them off,” Anne recalls. Not only did this new direction eliminate
an existing program, but it also replaced it with one that would
require additional volunteers.

“We believed in it and stood firm,” Anne
says. While initially the idea was met with strong resistance,
through open communication, including staff talking points and a
clearly communicated vision, the results were worth the risk.
“It…led to even more and better opportunities to minister to kids
and their parents together.”

As ministry leaders, those involved in our survey realized that
the future of their children’s ministry relies not only on their
ability to recognize the need for change, but also on the
leadership skills to make it happen. And now these leaders are
looking forward to more innovation and risk.

We asked: In your church, what contributes to success in
taking a risk?

  • Everyone being on the same page and in
    agreement, following through with said plan, and making sure
    everything lines up with God’s Word.
  • Prepare people for the change…train them
    regarding the change…follow up after the change.
  • Prayer, planning, and heavily consistent
    communication with the parents and guardians.
  • Getting outspoken church members involved
    and supportive of the idea.
  • Selling the “risk” to the volunteer staff.
    If they’re on board it’s a winner, for sure!
  • Having a team onboard that believes what
    you’re doing is right and is for the right reasons.
  • Vision, commitment, open minds,
    dedication, and prayer.
  • Prayer, attitude, and a heart willing to
    step out and take the risk if you feel that’s where God is
  • Discovering some great new talent. Working
    my tail off trying to get lessons adapted to our


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