It is so important that senior pastors intentionally support and encourage their youth and children pastors. I believe you do value and give thanks for having these pastors serve alongside you in the ministry of your church but if you are looking for a few ways you can ensure they know you value and care for them, I have compiled a few key ways, both from my personal experience serving as a children and youth pastor and from listening to many of our children and youth pastors over the years.
- Whether it is in a staff meeting or in one on one conversations, ask them how they are doing, not just what they are doing. Ensure they know you care about who they are and not just the ministry tasks they need to do.
- Share some of your challenges. Be vulnerable with them on some of the struggles of ministry you are encountering. Invite them to be praying in specific ways for you.
- Ask how you can help. Show that you are invested in the ministry they are leading and value their work. You likely have more years experience of ministry experience and valuable wisdom that you can share as you invest in your ministry team.
- Ensure professional development opportunities. You likely have a budget for books, training, conferences. Budgets may be tight, and it may mean you have to prioritize budget lines but ensuring there is something allocated for ongoing development for your children and youth pastors communicates the value you place on them and the ministry they lead. There are also many good, free online webinars so even ensuring there is time allocated to participate in these is important.
- Highlight strengths and encourage them in specific ways regularly! Ministry is full of many thankless tasks, and sometimes it can become very discouraging. Children and youth pastors may get caught up in comparing their ministry and their abilities to others. By regularly, intentionally drawing attention to the specific strengths and gifts they bring to the ministry you will boost confidence and encourage them to leverage their strengths.
These are just a few ways that you can show you value and care for your children and youth pastors, I wonder what others you would add? One other way CBOQ Kids invites senior pastors and churches to express their appreciation for their children’s pastors is in celebrating “Give your Children’s Pastor a Cupcake Day”! This day happens each year on the Sunday following Easter. Consider showing your appreciation for your children’s pastor this Sunday by participating!
Finally, I would like to take an opportunity to express gratitude for the 3 senior pastors I had the privilege of being mentored, invested into and cared for in my years of serving as a pastor to children and youth: Bill Norman, Nolan Lee and Steve Cox!