I think its fair to say that every kids’ ministry needs more staff. And I don’t mean the creepy kind with no teeth and a criminal background. We need kid’s workers who love Jesus and who love kids, (even the screaming toddlers). And, I believe that God will provide all the laborers we need. The ministry and the mission is his!
But with that being said, we can still do things that undermine our kids ministry. Below are five deadly habits that regularly keep people serving and some tips for overcoming them.
Nothing scares committed volunteers away faster than chaos. And we can’t blame people for avoiding a human zoo. No one would board a cruise ship whose final destination was the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. And no one is going to work with our kids if they think someone may die before the night is over.
Get organised. If we want people to work with our kids, we must empower them by creating schedules, using great curriculums, and enforcing discipline. We, the children’s leaders, must have a practical vision for our ministry that others can respond to. Now vision will not win everyone over on its own. But you can’t succeed without it.
Lack of Vision:
Many adults think kids’ ministry exists as a holding cell for whinny, noisy, stinky kids. Many don’t serve because they don’t think kids’ ministry is a ministry. They view the kids’ wing as a swanky, religious nursery that frees adults to worship without anyone asking to go to the bathroom.
Share our vision with our church through discussions, sermons, and training events. We need to help others see that kids’ ministries exist to strategically equip parents (and the entire church body) to declare the glory of God to the next generation! Sunday school, Wednesday night activities, and those wacky events happen because churches want to see everyone worshiping Christ together! Kids’ ministry is not just nursery, its intentional, hands-on mission and discipleship work! We need to get the word out!
A Selfish Mindset:
Those who’ve fallen into this category believe “Church is me time.” They don’t serve because God only called them to attend church. Because their life is crazy and/or hard, they think God has freed them from serving others, especially kids. Even if they have kids, this group knows that God called them to only attend Bible studies and concerts.
First, We need to invite people to serve. Second, we explain the danger of not actively serving in church. Admittedly those who make Sunday their “adult time” or their “time away from the kids,” will have an easier day. But their day will also be far less biblical. We are called to put the needs of others before our own. (I.E. the church is not about you or me). We read in Philippians 2:2-4:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
“Yes,” some will say, “but you have no idea what my kids are like or what I have to put up with on a regular basis.” A We don’t. And we need to be considerate of others struggles. But, we need to help all see that service is not based on feelings. We serve because the God of the universe put our needs before his own comfort. We want to be like him! Help others see that our earthly comfort is not more important than a child’s salvation and find a reasonable place for them to serve.
A Quitter’s Mentality:
These adults say things like, “I did my time and my kids are grown.” In short, they’ve tapped out and have done their time.
We need to encourage people to refresh and to follow God’s call on their life. Many people exit kids’ ministry for great reasons. We should support God’s work in their life!
But we should pursue those who leave the kids’ program to retire from ministry all together. We need to remind quitters that God doesn’t put a time limit or a quota on serving the next generation. God’s missional call to reach kids involves all of his church. Ands, kids need older adults to teach them. The energy of young singles and new marrieds cannot compare to the wisdom possessed by older believers. If we want to see our kids greatly influenced for Christ, we need to expose them to the Godliest men and women in our church. And not surprisingly, most kids actually want to hang with wiser men and women!
Lack of Communication:
There are people in our churches who are sitting out because they’ve never been asked to help. These adults never interacted our kids’ zone because they are single or empty nesters. They are open to serving. But they’ve never connected with a kids’ ministry worker or leader. They may have heard that their kids’ ministry needs help, but they don’t know where to begin.
The solution is for somebody to directly ask them. As kid’s ministry people, we need to make an effort to interact with the whole body, inviting health believers from all walks of life to be part of our kids’ ministry.