I just finished our week of camp with our SFLCKids and while there I enjoyed a great conversation on how many people are no longer in children’s ministry positions. Everyone was talking about who graduated with them and headed into the children’s ministry field to only leave for one reason or another. Some of the reasons were very heart breaking due to they seemed to allow the children’s ministry to break them.
Why is it that children’s pastoring seems to have such a high rate of carnage? Here are just a few reasons, I am sure there are a ton more. Besides the senior pastor position, I believe leading in children’s ministry is the most difficult pastoral position to serve in. The list below is not true of every church (so please keep your hate mail), but more often than not, most of it is true in most churches.
– Is perhaps the least understood or appreciated pastoral level position in the church, as reflected in the fact that it is typically the lowest paid “leadership” position on the staff.
– Can be staffed (because of the lack of understanding, appreciation, and compensation) often by under-trained leaders, resulting in high turnover, not to mention discouragement and frustration.
– Is probably one of the most expensive groups to run effectively (due to society has made things for kids more expensive all around) but usually operates on the least amount of money.
– Usually is the largest single group in the church being served with the greatest physical, social, emotional, and mental developmental span of any in the church (babies through preteen)
– Has the largest group of volunteers to lead and manage.
– Needs to be a master communicator with the kids, volunteer, parents and the grandparents. To keep kids engaged in your message while they live in a world that they have so much at their fingertips readily available to captivate their attentions. Communicate with volunteers who all give different amounts of time and make sure no one gets left out. With Parents and Grandparents who always want and need information well in advance and receive their information in several different ways.
– Needs the largest and most diverse teaching team – multiple teachers with multiple skills are necessary for various classes vs. the ability to get by with just one. Kids move from nursery to concrete thinkers than abstract through non reading and reading up through pre-teen ages. None of these are alike or can be treated as such.
– Requires the most specific and varied volunteer training (because of the developmental range and varied ministry requirements within that range). You must be a master in all or a great recruiter to see that all areas can be trained on.
– Security needs to be thought through at a whole new level
– The most spiritually impressionable group in the church, by far, with the opportunity to make the greatest overall impact in spiritual formation, but within the group that is least able to manage themselves.
The above is in no specific order. What would you add or disagree with?