For many Children’s Pastors, the feeling of isolation and a lack of support can be overwhelming. For these pastors, they feel as though they are the only ones who see the importance of reaching the children of their church and feel like other ministries are receiving feasts while the scramble to pick up the crumbs from under the table. Yet, there are just as many pastors who feel like they are completely supported by their church and smile every time they step foot onto church grounds. As a pastor who has worked on both sides of the fence, I have put together my top 5 signs that you are at a church that values Children’s Ministry and a few tips to change the culture if you are not.
When the leadership of the church talks about your programs, is it referred to as childcare? The language that is used to describe your ministry is a peek into the brains of the leadership. On Sunday mornings, we provide a church service, just like the adult service, it’s not simply childcare. Don’t just listen to what people say, also take a look at the language used online and on and literature your church prints up. If you are unhappy with what you found, speak with your leadership team. I suggest expressing the importance of reinforcing what goals you have for your ministry and how the language used helps raise the importance level of children’s ministry at the family level.
If you are a part of a church that believes in always learning, then conferences, books and Christian magazine are a regular part of your church culture. The next sign however that your church does not value Children’s Ministry is that they don’t include you when it comes to the conferences and books that other ministry leaders are a part of. This is a real sign that the church views what you do as independent from the wellbeing and development of the church as a whole. If your church help send the worship team to conferences or pays for Relevant Magazine for the youth pastor but you receive zero resources then there might be a problem. To fix this, you really have to be vocal and ask to go conferences or to be included when they buy their next book. By speaking up for yourself, you are only showing that you want to grow and that you are invested in the church.
How many times do you meet with the Senior Pastor of your church? Are you a part of weekly meeting, planning sessions or even one on ones with your Senior Pastor? Is it significantly less than other staff members? Meetings are put in place to keep the church running and if you are not a part of them, then it either means they do not think of your ministry or yourself as a key to the success of the church. They don’t understand how all departments of the church are actually connected to each other and that you as the Children’s’ Pastor are a great pulse on the needs and wants of the families of your church. To help change this, start showing more interest in the church to your Senior Pastor. Ask them how other ministries are going and ask if you can be part of any meetings in the future.
Where you spend your money is a great sign of when your heart is. How does your budget compare to the rest of your church? Is your budget getting cut while others are being increased? Does your church invest in family ministry events like a fall festival or back to school bash? A small budget is a danger sign that the leadership of the church feels as though the children should do with less than the rest of the church. To help change this, you must be very detailed and purpose driven when making budget proposals. Make sure you tie in the goal of each item or event you would like. If you can show that your ideas are greatly connected to the goals of the entire church then you how a strong chance of not only getting your budget increased but start showing the leadership how Children’s Ministry is a part of the bigger picture of the Kingdom of God.
What is the vision your church has for the future? This goes beyond a vision statement. Does your church see Children’s Ministry as a key area for reaching the community and being the hands and feet of Christ? Does the leadership of your church have a vision of what they want to happen inside of your ministry? If your church values children, then hopefully the answers are all yes. I truly believe that God helps give vision to the leadership of every church and as the Children’s Pastor it is important for you to get on board with the vision God has given for your church. Speak from the heart to the leadership about how you share the same vision and share the vision God has placed on your heart for your Children’s Ministry.