Leading a children’s ministry is no small task, but so many times it is the person in a part-time role having to fulfill those full-time duties. Working as a part-time kids director at different churches, I have found three different places that I need to devote my time to be sure that I am creating a healthy ministry environment for myself as well as my team.
Personal Growth—No matter your position in ministry, personal growth in Christ is the first place you need to devote your time. Tim Keller states that in ministry you must “watch your heart with far more diligence than you would have otherwise.” In the hustle of getting your checklist done it can be easy to put the needs of others ahead of your personal relationship with Christ. So many times we (or maybe just me) rationalize skipping our quiet time by preparing our large group message or writing a devotional for the prayer booklet. Yes, God has spoken to me through material that was meant for a 3rd grader, but setting a time to pray and read on your own will benefit not only you but your ministry. Remember, a branch attached to the vine can reach much further.
Invest in volunteers—Having a great team can make or break a ministry. Find a few leaders that you can spend time investing in. I have been very blessed to have had a handful of volunteers that I knew I could depend on no matter what. Invest in those people! Every ministry has volunteers that only show up when they feel like it or never reply to service requests, I know that. But find those gems of leaders that are there every week and make them feel valued. One of my friends in ministry does this so well by writing notes to all of her volunteers at least once a semester. If it is possible, add a $5 giftcard to these little notes. These notes of encouragement go so far because I know that she values me as a volunteer not because I am filling a hole on her list but because of the role I am playing in making the Gospel known to kids.
Take care of the details—Fall festivals, Christmas concerts, and Vacation Bible Schools take lots of planning! In the rush to take care of the next big thing, be sure not to miss the small details that will make your ministry thrive week-to-week. Send out a message every week to your leaders with encouragement and any updates. Have everything prepared for your teachers for Sunday morning so that they can focus on the kids rather than supplies. These little details will eat up time quickly so create a schedule so that your volunteers know what to expect and you will be in a healthier state of mind knowing what is coming next.
It is difficult to have a “playbook” when it feels like you are always running out of time but the biggest thing that I have learned is to rely on God. You hear it a lot for a reason. I have seen the impossible happen and broken lives come back to Him, not because I was doing something right, but because we serve a big God!