3 Reasons You’re Struggling To Find A Children’s Pastor & How To Fix Them
By: Vanderbloemen February 13, 2014
Children’s Pastors are one of the toughest searches for church leaders.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the reasons for this challenge and some solutions to help you recruit high capacity Children’s Pastors to your team.
1. Shifting Roles
As we discussed in our blog post on 2014 Church Staffing Trends, we’re seeing a shift toward churches hiring a Family Pastor responsible for children, youth, and family discipleship as opposed to someone to solely run the nursery on Sunday mornings.
This Family Discipleship role is complex and often requires a leader with proven experience implementing discipleship programs and children and youth development.
How can you attract this type of Family Pastor?
Communicate in the job description that you desire a leader who will develop an overall strategy for family ministry. Children’s Ministry shouldn’t just be about watching children; it should be about developing the whole family. If you can cast vision for family discipleship in your job description and interviews, then you will be more likely to attract the candidates with passion for that vision.
2. Unreasonable Expectations
Every job description should have a list of required skills and characteristics needed for the job. However, effective job descriptions distinguish between required and preferred skills. This is an important distinction to make and one that we spend a lot of time on with our clients. Make sure that your required characteristics are reasonable for the seniority and pay of the role.
There are some characteristics that you should not put on the job description but your search team needs to discuss and agree upon before you launch the search.
Some of those topics are as below:
- Gender – is it necessary that they are a male or a female, or will either gender be acceptable?
- Education – is it necessary that they have a bachelor’s degree? A master’s degree?
- Family – is it necessary that this person be married with children or is that preferred?
- Taboos – what must this person’s view on tattoos, alcohol, etc. be?
3. Underpaid & Under-Resourced
Unfortunately, Children and Family Pastors have one of the lowest paying jobs on the church staff, which makes it difficult for a content, high-capacity Children’s Pastor to relocate for a low-paying job. No one is ever in ministry because of the paycheck, but the Children’s Pastor must be able to comfortably provide for their family.
If you’re a church currently facing a challenging Children’s Pastor search, ask yourself, “Are our job requirements reasonable for the salary we are asking? Does this salary allow for a family to live comfortably in our church’s community?” If not, we can help you do a compensation study to ensure your church staff salaries align with the market trends.
One nuance of ministry that church leaders don’t often think about is the spouse, especially when it comes to money. If the Children’s Pastor's spouse is currently working, are you offering an attractive position and paying enough to make it an option for both spouses to uproot their current job situation to move to your church?
The Children’s Pastor is a growth engine for your church. Most church planters know this, which is why a children’s pastor is often the second person hired on a church staff. Many people will stay or leave a church because of the quality of its children’s ministry, so you need a Children’s Pastor who will help take your children’s ministry to the next level.
Here are a few things you can do to attract high capacity children’s pastors to your church staff:
1. Recruit: Put on your recruiting hat. Communicate to the children’s pastor why you want them to join your staff and why you believe the Lord is leading you to reach out to them.
2. Resource: Give your Children's Pastor adequate resources. Many Children’s Pastors feel that their department is under-resourced, so the most attractive jobs are at churches who prioritize their children’s ministry and allow the Children’s Pastor to take ownership of the ministry’s direction. Give them freedom to express their own vision and values for the ministry as they align it with the church vision as a whole. Give them a voice on your leadership team. Don't limit their influence to children only.
3. Vision: The senior leaders’ view of children’s ministry will shape the view of the entire church’s view of children’s ministry. If your church says it values the children’s ministry, then the senior leaders need to promote the culture of volunteerism and support for children's ministry from the stage. Children’s Ministry shouldn’t be just a daycare. It should be the core of the church culture.