5 Things To Look For In An Inexperienced Children’s Pastor


Great Children’s Pastors are in high demand. Every church is looking for a rock star #KidMin Pastor who has worked in a church of several thousand and running a Kids Ministry of a few hundred. The problem is that that is a really small pool of candidates.

Most churches in America have congregations of less than 150 with many bi-vocational staff members. Historically, Children’s Ministry has been the low entry point to getting on staff at a church, and it was often left to a high capacity volunteer or a spouse of a staff member to take on this role. However, with technology integration, curriculum improvements, and safety concerns ever-increasing, churches are now placing a much higher level of expectation on their next Children’s Pastor.

Here are some things you should be looking for in your next Children’s Pastor if they are not as experienced as you are hoping. You may be able to find a diamond in the rough by hiring for potential instead of only looking at prior experience.

1. When and how have they built teams?

Just because a candidate has not been in this role before does not mean that they haven't had to recruit and build teams in other contexts. They could have done it in a corporate setting, volunteer capacity, or otherwise. This is something people do not often think to put on a resume, so make sure and ask them if this is something they have had to do in the past.

2. What is their strategy to de-escalate conflict?

Whether it is two kids fighting over a stuffed animal or a parent that is upset because their child lost their shoes, there is always conflict that must be handled. Try giving the candidate a few hypothetical scenarios and see how they would navigate those situations.

How to build and grow a Children's Ministry webinar

3. Do they have a vision of what your Children’s Ministry should look like?

They should be able to articulate what their vision is for your Children’s Ministry. How do they manage their team? What does success look like to them? They should be able to answer some basic questions about their philosophy of ministry. They should be passionate about researching and implementing curriculums and best practices, even if they have no prior experience.

4. Are they resourceful with a budget?

Too often, Children’s Ministry programs are not getting the a significant budget allocation at a church, so they need to be able to spend the money wisely. Give them a hypothetical #kidmin budget and ask them what they would spend that money on, and most importantly, why. There isn’t a right or wrong answer or formula here, but they should be able to come up with a reasonable argument for any part of how they would allocate a budget.

5. Do they have experience working with kids outside of churches?

Have they been a teacher or substitute? Did they work at a summer camp or gymnastics gym or dance studio? Did they babysit or nanny for multiple families at the same time? If they have experience relating to both kids and parents in some setting, that is a good sign.

Finding an experienced Children’s Pastor can be tough, as it is often seen as a stepping stone position to a next level in a candidate's ministry journey. Hiring for potential instead of experience is a great opportunity to get a Children’s Pastor that is moldable, eager to learn, wants to make an impact and build a thriving ministry.

Have you taken a chance on an inexperienced hire before that really paid off? Tell us about it here!

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How to build and grow a Children's Ministry webinar