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The Ungrateful Children’s Minister

5 Things I Hate about Children’s Ministry

#1 The Irrelevant Children’s Minister

#2 The “One-Man Show” Children’s Minister

#3 The Children’s Minister that Ignores Early Childhood

#4 The “Jump on my Sinking Ship” Children’s Minister

#5. The Ungrateful Children’s Minister

I’ve saved my most Hate for the final one in this series.   I have no time in my life to listen to another ungrateful Children’s Pastor.   In a way, this quality is mixed into to the four previous roles on my hate list.   The Irrelevant Children’s Minister is ungrateful for the time others have spent to help him be more relevant, the One-Man Show Children’s Minster is unknowingly ungrateful for the talented people that surround him, the Early Childhood Ignoring Children’s Pastor is ungrateful for the opportunity to influence kids under six, and the Sinking Ship Syndrome is really just a symptom of a heart of ungratefulness.

As Children’s Pastors we should live a life of gratefulness towards three groups of people.

#1. Our Pastors:   You can call them your boss if it makes you more comfortable, but for me they’re both my boss and my pastor.   I’m grateful that I have been given the opportunity by my superiors to serve the families in my church.   I’m grateful that they keep so many things from me, and allow me to work within one area of the church.   I’m grateful for a paycheck that allows me to take care of my family, and I’m thankful for their obedience to God’s calling in their life.   I know that it is difficult at times to work our own passions into the passions of our leaders, but it’s worth it and it’s more than honorable to live our lives to fulfill our pastor’s vision for the city you live in.

#2. Our Parents:   Are you kidding me?   I’ve met so many Children’s Pastors that forget this simple truth.   Parent’s are under no obligation to bring their children to you. You would be well served to NEVER forget this fact.   It is a supreme privilege to spend time with other people’s kids, and the moment you forget it then you’re on the road to ungratefulness.   Have you taken time recently to thank your parents?   You’ll be amazed at how much more willing parents will be to grow in their roles as spiritual leaders in the home when you approach them with an attitude of gratefulness.   Test me, and see if you can change the attitude of your parents by expressing some thankfulness every once in a while.

#3 Our Volunteers:   I have the best volunteers that can be found anywhere in the world.   If you don’t believe me than you must have some great volunteers yourself!   Take the time to tell those that serve alongside you how thankful you are for them.   Don’t only notice their impact when they’re gone; notice it when they’re standing right next to you.   I personally take time each week to write thank-you notes to 3 people.   It’s not much, but it helps me keep a grateful attitude for those that serve with me; and provides some much needed encouragement to a great group of servants at my church.

Take ungratefulness seriously, and fight against the attitude of forgetting what others mean for what you do.   Be thankful, and be thankful on purpose!

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. gina · December 21, 2009

    I love every post in this series. I know at times I personally have fallen into each of these categories. The lesson to learn here isn’t that the perfect CP never finds themselves in one of these modes… they’re just not willing to stay there. Learn and grow.

    Thanks Jonathan.

  2. Michelle · January 14, 2010

    I’m brand new to Children’s Ministry and was so excited to come across this blog…Note to self – print this list and post it where I will see it daily. Thank you for sharing these great insights from your years in ministry and thanks for all the great links and reading suggestions too. I’m so excited!