5 Things I Hate about Children’s Ministry
#1 The Irrelevant Children’s Minister
When I started doing Children’s Ministry I had a 18 month old son, and my wife was expecting our 2nd son. I remember seeing environments designed for kids, that my own 18 month old wouldn’t have played in. I can remember thinking that someone was missing the mark. I thought, when did nurseries become so irrelevant to 18 month olds? Did they not know what was popular? Did they have no idea of recent educational trends for 18 month olds? I was a parent that had a keen understanding of this age group, yet the churches we would visit weren’t meeting the needs for my own kids. The danger is that everyone cared terribly for my kids, they had just become irrelevant over time. Slowly, slowly, slowly over the years they had lost a grasp of what was reaching kids “in-the-moment.”
In Elementary environments I see it all the time. It’s the Children’s Pastor that force feeds what he thinks is funny to kids that don’t laugh at his jokes. It’s the CP that plans for a circa 1983 Children’s service to kids that live in 2009. It’s the CP that refuses to check his email, respond to a text message, or put pictures of kids on the Internet. It’s the CP that thinks puppets talking to the ceiling behind a lime green bed sheet held up between two wooden chairs is “cutting edge.” You might think, that doesn’t exist…but it does. I meet Children’s Pastors all the time that never read books, and refuse to accept that kids multimedia needs are changing.
But you know what happens to Children’s Ministries like this? They eventually stop bringing in new kids. And a church with now new kids, has no new families. And a church with no new families, is dead. And Children’s Pastors at dead churches are officially irrelevant. Don’t be that person!
So if you’re that guy (or girl) struggling with irrelevance, what should you do? For starters get yourself back in the game. Talk to kids with an ear to listen. Find out what they watch, what they listen to, what they do, and what they like. If you have kids at home, then you have a built-in research assistant. If you don’t then you’ll have to get more creative. Subscribe to K Magazine, read Kenny’s Blog, pick up any book by Jim Wideman and learn, learn, learn, learn. Never stop learning. When you’ve sponged up all that you can about how to reach kids, parents, and families together; then you’re well on your way to avoiding irrelevance.