Leading in children's ministry is no easy task. Most people outside of children's ministry think leading in children's ministry only involves leading children.
But leading in children's ministry means you have to effectively lead, not only children, but also teenagers, young adults, middle-age adults and senior citizens.
It takes skill to lead that many generations effectively. The good news...you can lead all these generations well, if you will focus on the 10 keys you're about to read about.
Let's dive in and look at 10 keys you need to be an effective kidmin leader.
1. Bring the energy. This means you don't just measure the temperature of the ministry. Rather it means you set the temperature for the ministry. I often use the thermostat vs. thermometer example. A thermometer only measures the temperature, while a thermostat controls the temperature.
If you want to be an effective kidmin leader, then you've got to bring energy, excitement and enthusiasm. Just like you have to add wood to a fire to keep it burning, you must continuously bring energy to the ministry.
Your team is a reflection of the energy you are bringing to them. Stay fired up so the ministry can stay fired up. Stay fired up so the ministry will stay excited.
2. Don't accept mediocrity. Pursue excellence. Don't adopt the attitude that says, "It will be fine. They are just kids, they won't notice. Hang on there. It does matter. Kids do deserve your very best.
This doesn't mean everything will be excellent all the time, but it does indicate that you should constantly be striving to make the ministry better and pursuing excellence.
Don't accept mediocrity. Every week look for at least one way you can make the ministry better.
3. Have a clear vision. The vision should be your rallying call. It should be simple and easy for people to remember. It should be infused into everything you do as a kids' ministry. Someone should be able to ask any volunteer on your team what the vision is and get the same answer. A clear vision helps you keep your team focused on the why.
4. Make the hard decisions. This doesn't mean you have to make hard decisions by yourself. You should always seek counsel and input from people you trust, before making a hard decision. But once you have gathered the necessary facts and sought counsel, you should be decisive. Don't constantly be second-guessing yourself. Walk in the confidence that you have made the right decision.
5. Collaboration. An effective kidmin leader doesn't try to go at it alone. They ask a lot of good questions which lead to really good answers. They know the smartest person in the room is the room. They build bridges to other ministries in the church.
6. Lead by example. Effective kidmin leadership is not just taught, it is caught. Model the kind of leadership you want your team to embrace. If you want your team to walk an extra mile, then you need to walk two extra miles.
We are told by Paul the Apostle in I Timothy 4 to, "be an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
He's saying to us to "Be an example in what you say, how you love, how you trust God and how you strive to walk in the power of a pure heart."
7. Embrace change. Change. We like to change stuff that other people created, don't we? But what about when it's something we created or started? Changing that is not so easy, is it?
But effective kidmin leaders, hold everything with open hands. Even the stuff they created. They know that the last three letters of TREND spells out the word end. When they uncover something in the ministry that is a hindrance or something that's not in alignment with the church's overall vision, they make the necessary changes.
8. Always stay in school. When you feel like you have arrived, you are in a vulnerable place. Be thankful for what you've learned thus far on the journey. But don't hit pause. God has more for you. Always be in a growth mode. Always be looking for fresh ideas. Always be striving to become a better leader. Have the mindset that there is always something new you can learn.
9. Work on your interpersonal skills. Kids' ministry is all about people. It's important to know how to interact with people in various situations. Know your personality type. Know the personalities of your key people.
Work on staying calm when someone else is displaying anger. Work on listening to your team..,really listening to learn.
Work on being nice to people and approachable. Be nice, because you are nice, not just because someone is being nice to you.
10. Develop others. If you are going to be an effective leader in kids' ministry, then you've got to know how to build a solid volunteer team. The Scriptures say your primary role is to "equip the saints for the work of the ministry." Switch from being a doer to primarily pouring into your team members.
Focus less on being a star and more on developing starts.
Focus less on being powerful and more on empowering others.
Focus less on being in the spotlight and more on getting others in the spotlight.
So there you have it. Focus on these 10 keys and you'll become an children's minister extraordinaire.
You can get more great ideas for leading in children's ministry in my book "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams." It's available in both ebook and paperback.