The Blown Away Children and Family Ministry Conference, “is a leading interdenominational Children and Family Ministries Conference in Ontario Canada that exists to Equip, Encourage and Empower leaders in Ministry”. I had the privilege of both attending the conference and learning from the incredible speakers and volunteers that make this conference happen. I would love to share some of the thoughts, insights and encouragements I gathered during my two days there and want to be able to equip and resource you all as parents, staff and volunteers in Children’s Ministry. Over the next few weeks I will be posting about various breakouts I attended, main sessions that inspired me, and creative new ideas you can implement at your own churches.
The Blown Away Conference has the option every year to register for what is known as the “Pre-Conference” which is a session that happens the afternoon leading into the main conference. This year the Pre-Conference was kicked off by Brian Dollar, the Children’s Pastor at First North Little Rock Church in Arkansas. He has served in Children’s Ministry for 25 years and is also the founder of High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources which provides kids curriculum and a variety of other children’s ministry resources to churches around the world. During the Pre-conference at Blown Away Brian Dollar led a workshop titled “Developing and Maintaining a Healthy Relationship with my Lead Pastor”. Below are a few of the notes I took and some helpful takeaways for each of us in our various contexts for how we can better serve, work alongside and support our Lead Pastors as Children’s Ministry Pastors and Volunteers.
“Leading Up: Developing and Maintaining a Healthy Relationship with my Lead Pastor”
As we lead and serve in Children’s Ministry we must be intentional about supporting our Staff Team and encouraging our Lead Pastors. Below are 7 things to consider as a Children’s Ministry Staff/Volunteer:
- You aren’t building your kingdom you are Building God’s Kingdom
- It is not all about us. It’s not about our plans or our events or our agenda. It has always been and will continue to always be all about God’s Kingdom. So as we create events and gather curriculum we must always ask ourselves the question “how is what I am doing today building God’s Kingdom for tomorrow?”
- Eventually your kids will leave your ministry and join the adult ministry your lead Pastor is responsible for
- Your Children will eventually outgrow your ministry. A time will come when they are suddenly too old for your Sunday morning program and they will find themselves alongside their parents in the Sunday morning service.
- Make sure that when they get there they already have a heart that shares the vision of your Lead Pastor.
- Ensure that as the Children’s Ministry Staff/Volunteer you understand and can clearly communicate the vision your Lead Pastor has for your church community so that your children can comprehend the vision of the church.
- If your Pastor needs you to do something beyond kids ministry be willing to do it
- Don’t get caught saying “That’s not my job” or “that’s not my thing”
- We are building HIS church – whatever needs to be done needs to be done
- Our tendency sometimes can be to refrain from serving in ministry areas that go beyond children’s Ministry. We have to remember that our ultimate goal as Christ followers is to serve God and love his church. Loving His church well means doing whatever needs to be done in order to ensure that our communities continue to have the opportunity to hear about Jesus.
- That may mean serving coffee at an evening bible study, cleaning up the youth room after an epic all-nighter, or handing out programs on a Sunday morning as families arrive. Let’s be leaders who are always willing to serve, recognizing that by doing so we get to participate in the expansion of the Kingdom.
- That thing that makes you great on stage with kids may sink you when you’re with adults if you’re not careful
- Children’s Ministry is full of high energy activities, messy crafts and silly jokes but we need to be careful that we know when to turn on and when to turn off this high energy and silly disposition we’ve acquired in children’s Ministry.
- Recognize when you need to be professional, when you need to be serious and when the context calls for adult conversation
- Just because your actions are being corrected does not mean your character is being questioned
- We all make mistakes. It’s a part of our humanness. Understand that it is the responsibility of your Lead Pastor to guide, instruct and lead their team. We want to respect and trust their judgement and recognize that they have our best interests at heart. We also need to recognize that we can have areas that need growth in our programs or leadership but that the correction of our Lead Pastor does not serve as a questioning of our character
- When someone praises you use it as an opportunity to praise your pastor
- When someone says to you “Oh you do such a wonderful job with your volunteers in the children’s program” you can say “Well I have had Leadership modelled really well from my Lead Pastor so I’m very grateful to him/her for the time they take to invest in our team and model good discipleship”
- Praise your Pastor so that they receive thanks and recognition for the hard work they do to serve their team and their community.
- Don’t let your insecurities influence what motives you think your pastor has.
- Don’t assume their decisions are meant to prove a point to you or about you.
- Sometimes we are afraid we aren’t creative enough and so when our Lead Pastor has a meeting on leadership development where they model brainstorming and event planning we take it personally, assuming that they are silently calling us out for our mistakes in leadership.
- Don’t assume your Lead Pastor is trying to make a point – they are offering teachable moments to train and develop you as a leader.
- Encourage and Serve your Lead Pastor
- Find opportunities to encourage your Lead Pastor – write them a hand written card thanking them for something specific (like how well they communicated the message on Sunday morning, or a thank you for stopping by your volunteer training meeting on the weekend, or for supporting you as you approached the board about changing curriculum)
- Seek out moments to affirm them in their leadership and to remind them of the characteristics in leadership they have that allow them to serve your team and your church well
- Serve your Lead Pastor
- if they have children who play sports go cheer their child on at their soccer game
- if you attend a conference where your Lead Pastor is speaking help them set up or tear down their equipment, distribute their handouts, or grab them water or coffee so they are ready to go for their session
- Find opportunities to care for your Lead Pastor so they feel supported and encouraged as they lead
For more information on Brian Dollar check out his Website and Blog at http://www.briandollar.com/#
For more information on Brian’s High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources check out http://highvoltage-kids.com/