my first vbs as children's minister in 1997. this sweet girl is a senior in high school this year.
my first vbs as children’s minister in 1997. this sweet girl is a senior in high school this year.

as am i going through the process of hiring an associate minister to children i have asked myself, what would i tell someone just beginning their kids ministry journey? i guess this list would consists of what i wish i would have know when i began as a full-time minister to children over 17 years ago. the best advice is advice i have learned through experience, through difficulties, or failure. some of these things i am still trying to get a good grasp on as i still have so much to learn. here is my list of 18. one for every year i have served in a kidmin staff position, plus a bonus. (these are in no certain order.)

  1. do less well
    one of my favorite beth moore quotes is, “you can’t do a million things to the glory of God.” this is true personally as well in a ministry leadership position. seek God’s direction for your ministry and do a few things well before you try to do a million things half-way.
  2. make time for sabbath
    if Jesus had time to get away and alone with His Father, we have no excuse. i blog more about sabbath here.
  3. you can never over present the good news
    the Gospel is life-changing! let’s make the most of every opportunity to present this eternal truth.
  4. value your teachers
    your investors (teachers) are on the front lines weekly. support them, pray for them, and make sure you take time to help them understand their crucial role as you value them.
  5. learn to say no
    this two letter word can be one of the hardest to utter, but if you are going to survive in ministry you must practice saying no. saying no could just lead to a greater yes!
  6. value the ministry moments (they won’t always be there, work will)
    there are just some divine moments that only a Sovereign God can orchestrate and if we are not careful we can miss them because we are checking off the next item on our to-do list. when you are gifted with one of these moments, be present because it won’t last forever.
  7. get families involved in the learning
    if you want families involved in their child’s decision to follow Christ, you must get them involved in the conversation. be sure to provide times where you minister to the family as a whole. begin family conversations at church that they can continue at home.
  8. you can’t over communicate
    when you think people are just getting the message, you are just beginning to communicate. make communication with kids, parents, volunteers, church members, and the community a priority.
  9. calling more important than a “job”
    make sure you feel called by God to serve in ministry. ministry is tough and you want to make sure it is the Lord that called you there. some days He is the only Way through the ministry valleys.
  10. consistently feed yourself
    you must consistently be in the Word. how in the world do we think we are going to pour out on others when we are not drinking in the Living Water for ourselves?
  11. listen more and talk less with those that have more experience
    they may have different opinions, preferences, and experiences, but those that have walked the ministry road long before you have wisdom. don’t tune them out just because they did it different in “their day.”
  12. network, network, network
    kidmin leaders are the most gracious, encouraging, and generous group of people. be sure to spend time getting to know many of them from different denominations and geographical areas. they will share ideas, pray for you, and be some of your greatest partners in ministry. 
  13. suit up (ephesians 6)
    if you don’t think the enemy wants to do all he can to distract you and make you ineffective, think again. take time to pray through the armor of God. i think the hardest lesson for me to learn was that many of the fiery arrows come from within the camp. (other believers)
  14. put your phone down and look people in the eye
    i am often trying to capture events and share pictures and i can miss what is really happening in front of me. put down your phone, look people in the eyes, and listen as they talk to you. (reminding myself of this as i type.)
  15. concern yourself with pleasing God before man
    as you serve you have an audience of One. it certainly isn’t easy, but concern yourself with pleasing the God who called you to serve. you can become so weary trying to please everyone else.
  16. find someone who will mentor you both spiritually and ministerially
    to have someone who has blazed a trail ahead of you and has wisdom to share, what a gift! find someone and allow them to speak truth into your ministry and you spiritually.
  17. surround yourself with a strong team not just “yes” people, but people who have your same goal in mind – JESUS
    challenges to see things from a differnet perspective can add much depth to your ministry and you as a leader. surround yourself with solid believers who help you see the entire picture. you might even learn something new. 🙂 
  18. (bonus) when you have done all you can do, let God and trust God
    let’s be honest, He is the One in charge anyway.

i would love to hear what advice you would give. kid’ ministry veterans, comment below and share your wisdom.

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