How To Get A Rockstar Children’s Pastor
By: Vanderbloemen August 15, 2016
When my dad first went into the ministry, he was sent to a two-point charge in East Texas. As you can imagine, funds were pretty limited, so volunteers not only taught Sunday School classes, but oversaw almost every ministry that each church offered. That included Children’s Ministry—such as it was. Children’s Church was basically a way to keep young kids occupied while their parents attended service. This approach to Kids Ministry wasn’t exclusive to small churches; you could have seen this same basic set-up at churches of all sizes and denominations.
But Children’s Ministry has changed drastically in the past five to ten years. The rise in children’s discipleship curricula and the ability to easily access all the related materials and resources electronically has created an awareness of and need for full-family leaders. Churches have recognized that kids cannot be excluded from their spiritual formation efforts, and that childhood is a crucial time to develop life-long Christ followers. A solid Children’s Ministry is the first step towards preventing your church’s kids from leaving church altogether after high school, as 70-75% of them do.
Smart leaders also know that Children's Ministry requires attention, being that it will determine whether people come to your church and whether they return. There are a dizzying number of activities competing for families’ time and attention on Sunday mornings. Only a generation or two ago, people went to church because it was what you did; this is no longer the case. Parents will choose Sunday morning soccer games over church if their kids show no interest in it.
In addition, training for the kinds of leaders needed for this new type of Children’s Ministry has not kept pace with the increase in resources and the emphasis that churches now place on Children’s and Family Ministry.
Moreover, Children’s Ministry leaders have the highest volunteer need, so they have to recruit heavily. They also have to vet these leaders to make sure that parents are handing over their children to trustworthy adults, and then train those leaders to oversee aspects of the ministry that one Children’s Pastor alone cannot handle by him or herself.
Finally, because of the tradition of a Children’s Pastor being a supplementary person with limited duties, this position has typically been one with low compensation. Expectations and benchmarks have greatly increased, but pay has not gone up at the same rate.
All of these factors have led to a large gap in the number of high-capacity Children’s Ministry leaders and the availability of those kinds of leaders. While no one enters into ministry to get rich, everyone has practical factors to consider, like providing housing and food for your family.
So what’s a church to do? First, you need to check that your expectations and compensation are matched. You won’t be able to attract a candidate with the best training, fantastic experience, and a stellar track record, and then expect him or her to overhaul a struggling ministry at your own church without paying fairly.
Second, you should focus on equipping future leaders—both inside and outside of your own church—to become the kind of Children’s Pastor you would like to hire. Send them to conferences, subsidize further education, pair them with mentors, and support their teams to help them develop as Children’s Ministry leaders. This is an investment not only in the future of your church, but in the lives of the children who come through your ministry.
What steps can you take today to finding the next children's pastor for your church?
If you liked this, you'll also enjoy Why High Capacity Children's Pastors Are So Hard To Find