i have known jenny funderburke smith for years and the first thing that stands out to me about jenny is her smile and authenticity. she is the real deal, never sugar-coating her walk and journey, but leading in ministry and life from a refreshingly grounded faith.
jenny is not only a kidmin pioneer and visionary, she is an in-the-trenches leader that is consistently putting Jesus first in the ministry God has before her. she blogs about kidmin and fammin at jennyfunderburke.com/blog/. one of the things i love most about her blog is that she doesn’t simply share lofty ideals of ministry, she offers up the practical steps to make events, programs, and Gospel-centered ministry happen.
i am so excited to join my friends jenny, sam luce, and jonathan cliff to launch gospel at center – a kidmin communityy coming soon. jenny’s heartbeat for Jesus, kids and families, is such a driving force behind this new venture and i am glad to be along for the ride to glean wisdom from her. 🙂
1 – what do you see kidmin and family ministry leaders doing right?
I am excited to see the beginnings of renewed interest in making the gospel the primary focus of ministry and making sure kids truly know Scripture. I feel like more people are talking about this and seeking help and resources. I think this is a huge win for the kingdom! Let’s be fun and relevant, of course – but let’s make more of Jesus than all the “stuff”.
2 – what do you see as the greatest need in kidmin and family ministry right now?
We need a whole lot more conversation, content, and community (ha – I didn’t mean for those to all start with c’s) focused on how we center our ministries around Jesus while making what we do as Bible-based, effective, age-appropriate, and fun as we can.
3 – if you could have coffee with every kidmin/fammin leader, what would you want to make sure you shared with them?
You can’t do it all by yourself. If you are always in a classroom or always the only one making decisions or if significant parts of the ministry are solely dependent on you, you are in danger of building your kingdom, not God’s. Your job is to develop other leaders who can lead well. If you are doing it all yourself you are going to burn out and/or the ministry is going to be limited to your capacity. Ministry is more fun with friends anyway!
4 – what word of encouragement do you have for today’s kidmin/fammin leaders?
What you are doing is hard, but what you are doing matters so much. You may feel sometimes like you can see very little difference as a result of the hours and energy you pour in. But, the fruit of family ministry isn’t seen often seen until years and years later. You are laying a foundation of faith that really, truly matters. You are providing opportunities for kids to build relationships that can be life-changing.
5 – why are you passionate about children’s and family ministry?
We get the very best job in the world. We get to spend our time and energy sharing Jesus with the next generation. What is better than that? God gives us the opportunity to be some of the first influences in kids’ lives. We get to coach volunteers on how to make an eternal impact. We study how to best communicate the greatest message there is to smaller ears. The kids in our ministries have the potential to grow up and change the world. Years ago, Gina McClain asked a question in her blog that I could never get over. She asked, “What if this generation is the one that fulfills the Great Commission?” What if the kids in our ministries are the ones that reach the last unreached people groups? God is allowing us the opportunity to be a part of that by training, equipping, and loving them. How can you not be passionate about that?
Jenny Funderburke Smith is the Minister to Children at West Bradenton Baptist Church in Bradenton, Florida. She is married to Dan and has three crazy and awesome girls. Jenny is passionate about equipping volunteers to live out their calling as well as seeing families take next steps in their faith journey. She also really loves the beach, Tennessee football, and milkshakes. She blogs at jennyfunderburke.com/blog/ and she is a core team leader at Gospelatcenter.com.