5 Things I Hate about Children’s Ministry
#4 The “Jump on my Sinking Ship” Children’s Minister
You know this guy, right? He’s the Children’s Pastor that is always telling everyone how terrible everything is. He’s lamenting the lack of volunteers, the lack of parental involvement, the lack of support from senior church leadership, the small classrooms, and the overall apathy towards the next generation. Then they’ll ask you to get involved and volunteer! They’re telling everyone that their ship is sinking and going down like a boulder, but asking you to jump on board! It’s a wonder that anyone ever signs up to help out.
I’m not a big fan of stage announcements for Children’s Ministry volunteers/workers/leaders (or whatever you call them at your church.) Stage announcements just don’t work, and even if you do drag a few guilty parties into your ministry with a “Sinking Ship” announcement they will never work out long-term. I do believe in the power of the ask, just not from a sinking ship mentality. If you’re this CP, then let’s do some self evaluation. If you can answer YES to any of these questions then we might have a problem:
- Do you lament the lack of volunteers with anyone besides your spouse?
- Do you voice worries to current volunteers about why more people don’t volunteer?
- Have you ever stood in front of a group of people and said something to this effect?
“Somebody needs to step up and serve the kids in this church, because there just isn’t enough help currently!”
- Do people avoid you when you walk by them in the hallway?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then it’s time for us to talk. Go ahead and sit down for this one, because you need help. I’ve been where you are. In a previous life at a previous church I once let it leak that I had 150+ kids in Elementary services with myself and one other worker (AKA: The Doorman.) Was I scared of being alone with that many kids? YES! Was it necessary to scare everyone else? NO! Over time I learned to manage the Children’s Ministry at my church like we had every position fully staffed. I wrote job descriptions for positions I had never had people for, and started letting people join our team. Yes, I used the phrase “letting people join.” (BTW -If you’ve never read “Volunteers that Stick” by Jim Wideman then you should!)
Get off that sinking ship, and start casting up some sails for everyone to see. Make your burdened ship appear lighter than it actually is, and watch people catch your vision. There are times for your senior leadership to make appeals towards service to your congregation, but be careful not to identify yourself as the sinking ship!