My 2½-year-old nephew Will (name-sake BTW) loves to tell everyone what belongs to him! He’ll point to something and say, “Dat mine!” He’ll find something else in the room, and he’ll point out again: “Dat mine!” We find it kind of cute… for a 2-year-old… but let me be perfectly clear: IT’S NOT CUTE WHEN YOU’RE AN ADULT!
One of the reasons we sometimes have distinct “silos” among different ministries in our churches is that we are all too busy gathering up “wat’s ours” and making it very clear that we’re not interested in sharing.
We must work hard to lead the church ministry teams to model shared, inclusive behavior and to be more connected to the total ministry of the church and not focused solely on “our” work.
Below is a list that I believe might be helpful in promoting a connected kids ministry and help tear down that wall of “dat mine”:
- Develop a ministry philosophy/statement and share it. Often folks don’t know how to connect with us because they don’t know what we’re about. Each church is unique, and therefore, each kids ministry will be unique, so I can’t give you a formula or tell you what your ministry philosophy/statement should be. What I can tell you, though, is that if you don’t have a ministry philosophy, you will be spinning your wheels and might never really get anywhere. Additionally, your church will not know how to connect with your ministry, and that can result in a ton of issues (lack of support, lack of leadership, lack of financing… just to name a few). Get this straight, and a lot of other things will fall into place.
- Plan together as the church. All too often I’ve experienced families’ going in as many different directions in their church-activity attendance as there are family members. Help families avoid that chaos and create a since of connection and mutual purpose by working with other ministry-area leaders to plan together as a larger team. You’ll save some “church van,” “fellowship hall,” and “child-care” battles.
- Work together to appreciate all volunteers in your church at the same time. Let’s share the fun of celebrating our volunteers and help everyone know just how important they are to our church. I’ve seen some groups do a really good job of appreciating their volunteers, while other volunteers feel left out and not appreciated because their group wasn’t recognized. Working together will help eradicate that problem and will also help ministry leaders see who is volunteering with whom.
- Celebrate ministry victories with other ministry leaders. Is there an opportunity to celebrate what’s going on in your ministry with other ministers? Hearing the great things that go on in other ministries is an opportunity to celebrate with one another what God is doing as opposed to being jealous of other accomplishments. Become a cheerleader for other ministries, and watch the attitudes toward your ministry change for the better.
- Get rid of multiple resource closets. I know it sounds silly, but one centralized location with all consumable resources for all the ministries of the church is a positive step toward erasing the “yours and mine” mentality. Of course, someone (most likely the kids ministry folks) will have to maintain and keep tidy this space, but sharing it with all the ministry groups will not only help erase a “yours and mine” mentality but also will save your church tons of money by not doubling supplies.
“Dat mine” is cute right now, but I’m hoping William will grow out of that at some point and will become a kid who likes to share. I pray he will become a young man who understands the value of working together to support and encourage others. I’m praying the same thing for you!
What are your thoughts?
Great ideas Uncle Bill. I’ll be sure and mention some of these in our next all day staff planning session in a couple weeks. Need to tear down the “silos”! Love the “shared, inclusive” model of ministry… I think it is certainly an effective church “family” strategy! I appreciate your ministry friend!
Thanks Bill that is a great post. First Baptist Of Fort Walton Beach’s Childrens Ministry has kind been tip toeing on these lines a bit. We have been trying to make sure we help and support all the other ministries from youth to senior adult. We do get some crazy looks when we show up to help and participate with the seniors though. I do like the idea of doing a BIG Appreciation for All Voulnteers at our church not just the ones in Childrens Ministry. I appreciate your faithfullness to doing what God has called you to do.
Travis… I appreciate your ministry and your heart for the kids there in FWB.
Great encouragement Bill! I was on the fence about doing a church-wide volunteer appreciation banquet and your post nudged me over the top. Thanks!