For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many. Mark 10:45
God has given us a wonderful gift in allowing us to serve in kids ministry. Each week, we get to point kids to the beauty and power of the gospel. Each week, we get to share about God’s love, grace, and holiness. We also get to talk about forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ. What a privilege!
But at the same time, serving in kids ministry is a weighty responsibility. God has entrusted these kids to us and we need to steward their minds and hearts well. While centering our ministry on the gospel is of utmost importance, another big part of honoring God’s calling in kids ministry is to lead well. We want to be leaders who honor God in our conduct and actions and who maximize our ministry resources for God’s glory.
There are countless great leadership books available, but perhaps there is no better book on leadership than the Bible. Read as many leadership books as you can get your hands on, but don’t neglect learning leadership principles from God’s Word.
In this 12-part series, we are going to look at some notable, and a few overlooked, leaders in the Bible to see what godly leadership principles we can discover. We’ll begin with the greatest leader ever—Jesus.
When you think of the leadership of Jesus, it doesn’t take very long for servanthood to come to mind. Jesus offers the purest definition of a servant-leader possible. The Son of God humbled Himself by wrapping Himself in human flesh (Philippians 2) and seeking to serve, rather than be served (Mark 10:45). The Creator stepping into His creation not demanding to be waited on hand and foot, but instead seeking to take on the role of the lowest of servants for His Father’s glory.
What a beautiful and critical reminder for us! No matter what our level of authority in kids ministry is, how many people we supervise, or how fruitful our ministry is, we should always position ourselves as a servant to others—God, our ministry teams, our parents, and our kids. We are there for them; they are not there for us.
So what does Jesus-like servant-leadership look like in kids ministry? Here are five leadership lessons on how we can serve others:
- Pray for others. Guard time to pray for your church leaders, ministry leaders, kids, and parents. Send a card every once in awhile letting them know you are praying for them and are grateful for them.
- Ask others what you can do for them. Make it a habit to ask others what you can do for them. How can you help them? How can you serve them? What do they need from you?
- Respect others. Value every person’s role and his input—even when it is critical. You don’t have to agree with what he shares with you, but you need to love the person enough to listen, consider what is said, and then, in time, respond.
- Strive to do every ministry task at least once. You should not do everything as a regular part of your ministry rhythm. Delegation is a critical leadership skill. However, you should try to do every task at least once to experience it and to show that no task is beneath you. Don’t ever ask others to do what you are not willing to do yourself.
- Spend time with and love God and your family well. What does this have to do with being a servant-leader? Nothing and everything. It has nothing to do with servant-leadership in practical terms, but it has everything to do with being a healthy, balanced leader. One of the most common mistakes in ministry is to serve others and invest so much time and energy into ministry that you fail to enjoy and develop your relationship with Christ or fail to love your family well. The best leader is the leader who puts God first, his or her family second, and ministry after that. Not just on paper or in lip-service, but in reality. If you aren’t walking with God and loving your family, you will not be a servant-leader in your ministry.
Next time—Paul: How do leaders stay motivated?
Brian Dembowczyk is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. He served in local church ministry for over 16 years before coming to LifeWay. Brian earned an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his family live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.