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Children’s Pastor 101

My blogging buddy Sam had a post yesterday regarding the seemingly lack of adequate and qualified Children’s Pastors available to fill the available positions. He listed 5 questions and asked for some feedback.
OK, here goes with some honest, brutal answers from someone who’s opinion shouldn’t really matter:

1. What does it take to become a Children s Pastor?
What should it take, or what does it take? It should take experience, motivation, and some level of educational background (either academic or experiential.) Assuming that they love Jesus, and want to see kids know him as well. What it takes in reality, especially at most small churches, is a willingness to do it. Something we like to call the “mirror test.” They hold a mirror up to your nose, and if it fogs up…. You’re Hired!

2. Why most Children s Pastors wanted to be youth pastors?
Because it’s when we’re teenagers or college students that we really start trying to live out our Christian walk; and the first ‘church’ relationship we ever had was with our Youth pastor. Therefore, making the youth pastor role the coolest one we’ve ever known! On a side note… it could also be that children’s ministry leaves a bad memory for many…

3. What churches are looking for in a Children s Pastor?
I think most churches want a person that can advocate for the kids in a serious, and relevant way towards the rest of the church. I also believe that most churches want someone who they can let ‘do their own thing’ and not have to worry about the kids anymore. (I know this sounds terrible; but in reality it’s true!)

4. Misconceptions that keep people from pursuing children s ministry.
The biggest misconception is that Children’s Ministry is all puppets, crafts, and veggie-tales videos! Another misconception is that it doesn’t pay as well as the other church jobs (This might not be such a misconception!) Not that money is the most important thing in the world, but if I’m looking to support my family with a calling into church ministry then normally I’m NOT going to choose the least-paid position in the church. I’ve seen churches that purposely look for women to run this are of ministry, because they assume that with her husband working they can pay less than they would for a man looking to support his entire family. (This is changing at churches around the country, but ever so slowly.)

5. What makes a Children s Pastor last?
A willingness to be creative in ministry thoughts and planning; as well as a willingness to adapt when necessary to reach as many kids as possible. Children’s Pastors lose their influence over the long haul when they forget that trends change over time. God, please don’t let me be doing the same thing in 5 years that I’m doing now!

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Samuel · June 10, 2008

    Love your take will link to you tomorrow. You had some fantastic points. Love the mirror fog test. lol Willingness to change is huge so glad you brought that up. Great posts by the way started reading your blog way more the past couple of week good stuff.

  2. Cathy Harwick · June 11, 2008

    Just found your blog and you’ve got some good stuff. Loved #5….please let us not be doing the same thing even a year from now. I’m very passionate about being relevant to the kids and reaching them where they’re at! I’m adding you to my daily reads!

  3. Gina Deeming · May 18, 2009

    Proverbs 22:6 is very clear about the significance of Children’s Ministry as well as child care.

  4. Ricardo Miller · September 8, 2010

    Totally enjoy reading your blog Jonathan. Always great stuff. Keep ’em comin’!

  5. Wanda Mae Grover · October 6, 2011

    Very good, specially the very last one about trends can not stay where we started always moving on   and moving upward in our ministry, specialy to children. thanks for your blog.