KidMin Leader, do you talk to your Student Pastor more than just at staff meeting? Do you ever schedule meetings to discuss more than just church and school calendars? Your answers to these questions determine if you are living within “Ministry Silos.” You know what I mean—your ministry is led by you with very little input from other ministry leaders. Programming, scheduling, recruiting along with curriculum decisions, even vision casting to parents is decided by you as the KidMin leader. You stay in your swim lane, careful not to cross over into your teammates space. Meanwhile, the youth minister and discipleship pastor perhaps have their own lanes. They are busy making decisions that affect their ministry—staying in their own silos, or swim lanes. Everyone is moving forward, but no one is really collaborating. This is a common scenario in many churches and there is nothing wrong, per se, with conducting ministry in this manner. However, it’s important to ask one another, is there a better way?
If we can break down the invisible ministry silos and truly collaborate across the age groups, then thoughtful conversations and strategies can happen when you look at important topics such as discipleship. Here are three benefits of leading together:
- Discipleship is more comprehensive. If preschool, children, middle school, high school, and even adult ministry leaders are regularly meeting and collaborating, then discipleship strategy will be more seamless. The youth leaders will be so happy knowing what the 5th or 6th graders are coming with when they join middle school ministry. By the time a senior graduates, it is possible to know exactly what they have learned and studied as they grow in God’s Word.
- Recruiting volunteers is easier. Why? Because they can see that you are united in areas such as vision and mission. In many churches, the children’s and youth volunteers are very separate. However, when silos disappear, they can all know that they are pouring into the lives of kids and teens at all different stages, but with the same commitment to discipleship.
- Ministry becomes easier. When you lead together across the age groups, you gain efficiencies that help the work of ministry become easier. This means burnout will happen less because you truly have fellow leaders who look out for one another, holding each other accountable for spending time in the Word and truly taking a Sabbath.
My prayer is that you step back and take a look at how teams at your church do ministry. Are there invisible silos and swim lanes? If so, consider stepping in and collaborating for the benefit of each other, the kids, teens, and adults that you lead, and ultimately for the sake of the gospel.
A cord of three strands is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of Lifeway Kids. She is a Baylor graduate and offers a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and publishing. She is the author of Kids Ministry that Nourishes and Life Verse Creative Journal, which she co-authored with her teenage daughter. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children reside in Nashville.