By Shelly Harris
Confession Time: I have wanted to quit serving in Kids Ministry … on more than one occasion. I clearly remember sitting in my car one Sunday after church saying to myself and the Lord, “I want to quit. I really, really, really want to walk away, but I made a commitment.” I’m also pretty sure I hit the steering wheel a couple of times in frustration.
Chances are at some point in ministry, you will feel the same way. The last year has been incredibly difficult for everyone, church leaders included. I have watched many children’s leaders pour themselves into reaching families while facing smaller budgets, fewer volunteers, intense health and safety regulations, and unrealistic expectations from just about everyone.
So when that moment of discouragement or frustration comes, here are a few tips to remember.
Keep Your Cool. Don’t make a major life decision in the heat of the moment. Control your tongue. Emotions are powerful. They can be wonderful. And they can lead us astray. Examine what you are feeling and evaluate. Is the emotion temporary and based on a single, isolated event? Was it just a bad day? Is this emotion constant and based on repetitive events? Is God using this emotion to show you a change that needs to be made within you or within your ministry? Stuffing your emotions away will only increase your frustration. Feel. Process. Release.
Take a Time Out. It is hard to schedule time away while serving in kids ministry. But healthy leaders do exactly that. You need a day off once in a while. Spend some time with your family or a friend who makes you laugh. Take a break. Breathe. Relax.
Refuel. Open God’s Word and read. Pray. Listen to the Lord. Allow Him to refuel and refresh your heart and mind. Eat a meal. Get a full night’s sleep. Refuel yourself spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Get Back in the Game. I have found that often my most frustrating experiences in ministry are usually followed by an encouraging experience. The Lord sends a hug through a 5 year old. A typically grumpy parent will say “thank you.” All of the tech equipment will work properly for the day. A kid will trust me enough to ask a question they have about God. Those little moments of grace are enough to remind me that the mission is still to make disciples and that calling hasn’t changed. So remember Matthew 28:19-20, and press on toward the prize.