4 Things That Keep Smart Children’s Pastors Awake At Night
By: Holly Tate
We're conducting more Children's Pastors searches than ever before, because it's one of the most highly needed positions on church staffs. In our experience interviewing high-capacity Children's Pastors, we've found the following four things to keep smart Children's Pastors awake at night as they strive to build a thriving Children's Ministry.
1. Safety & Security
The number one thing that keeps Children’s Pastors awake at night is the safety and security of the Children’s Ministry.
In our article, Why High Capacity Children's Pastors Are So Hard To Find, we stated that the easiest way to wreck your church is to have a stagnant or failing Children’s Ministry. We’d also argue that the easiest way to wreck your Children’s Ministry is to have poor security practices.
If you're a Children’s Pastor, here are a few basic questions to get you thinking about how secure your Children’s Ministry is:
- Do you have a secure and streamlined check-in and check-out process?
- Do you have the proper ratio of children to adult volunteers?
- Do you conduct background checks on your Children’s Ministry staff and volunteers?
- Do you have a way to contact parents during the service if their child were to have an emergency?
- Do you have at least one trained volunteer or staff member available at all times who is first aid and CPR certified?
- Do you have the poison control and emergency phone numbers in every Children’s Ministry room so that volunteers and staff can easily access it in case of an emergency?
- Do you have a game plan for bad weather or a fire emergency, and have you trained your volunteers for the worst-case scenario?
If you're a senior leader, are you providing your Children’s Pastor the tools needed to provide a safe and secure environment for your children? You don’t have to spend thousands on a super high-tech computer security system, but you should make Children’s Ministry safety a priority in your annual budget if you want to bring new families into your church.
2. Recruiting Volunteers
Recruiting volunteers is one of the most challenging aspects of any church staff member’s jobs.
Children’s Ministry can be especially challenging for volunteer-recruiting because:
- People who don’t have children may be intimidated by the responsibility of caring for someone else’s child.
- If there is not a planned program, volunteers may feel like it is their responsibility to entertain the kids.
- People think it’s a babysitting task more than a ministry task.
- People feel intimidated if there’s not a lesson plan for the Bible teaching portion and they are expected to lead it.
- Volunteers may not feel familiar with or confident in your security process.
- Parents may be hard to recruit because they want a break from kids.
- Volunteers may be fearful of potentially dealing with over-protective parents.
If you're a Children’s Pastor, make a list of the challenges you’re facing in recruiting volunteers at your church and then create an action plan for how you can overcome those challenges as you recruit volunteers.
If you're a senior leader, know that creating a culture of generosity and volunteerism comes from the top-down. You must communicate the importance of volunteering from the stage in order to cast vision for the importance of volunteering in Children’s Ministry. Volunteer recruiting for ministry should be a part of everyone’s job description on staff, not just those who are dependent on volunteers to serve each week.
3. Affirmation from Parents
Parents can make or break a Children’s Pastor’s experience. If you’re a Children’s Pastor, be aware of this fact when you enter ministry and then be pro-active about communicating well with the parents on a regular basis.
Children’s Pastors, here are a few ideas to build and maintain relationships with parents:
- Have an “About Us” page that you give to new parents when they drop their kids off for the first time introducing them to the Children’s Ministry staff, key volunteers, safety/security procedures, and what they can expect from your Children’s Ministry.
- Have a monthly or quarterly parents meeting where you discuss what’s new in the Children’s Ministry and invite the parents to participate.
- Have a “take-away” that parents receive when they pick up their kids that can help them apply this week’s lesson to their family’s daily life that week.
- Have a volunteer follow-up with new parents after they visit for the first time.
Parents, know that your words mean the world to Children’s Pastors. Be intentional about encouraging them on a regular basis. Children’s Pastors are often overworked and under-paid, so approach your Children’s Pastor with a grateful and loving heart.
Senior leaders, one of the most significant acts you can do for your Children’s Pastor is to always have their backs. When you receive a complaint or concern from a parent, be sure you protect your Children’s Pastor and support them before any assumptions are made. This will go a long way in building trust and loyalty among your staff.
We’ve never met a Children’s Pastor who couldn’t use more money in their budget.
Children’s Pastors, do you have an established budget management system? Whether it is an organized excel document, QuickBooks, or another system, having a process that keeps you accountable for your budget will help relieve the headache of worrying whether you’re going over or not.
Senior leaders, are you sitting down with your Children’s Pastor on a regular basis to ensure they have the financial support they need to build a thriving Children’s Ministry?
These are just a few of the challenges that Children's Pastors face on a regular basis. What are some others that you don't see here?