Yesterday I introduced this little series about Children’s Ministry as a career field. The two comments both pointed to key problems facing the world of Kidmin.
One: Joy Bowen remarked that there seems to be a shortage of quality Chidlren’s Pastors with great experience and are strong leaders.
Two: Jonathan Cliff pointed out that some of the best Children’s Pastor candidates are successful Jr. High Pastors.
Personally, I think both these comments point to the same problem. Kidmin has bad PR. There are many great Kidmin Pastors and Kidmin programs that are doing incredible and innovative things in ministry. However, that’s not the norm. When MOST people think of Children’s Ministry, they think of boring Sunday School Classes, silly puppets and flannelgraph. It’s a stigma and it’s permeated through most churches around the world. Line up any church staff and 9 times out of 10, I can point out the children’s ministry staff. Why? Every play that game, “which of these don’t belong?” That’s usually the case for Kidmin. Oh, I can almost always point out the student ministry staff, but that’s usually because of the facial hair and trendy clothing. They stick out in a cool way. Kidmin usually sticks out in the “you need a makeover and new wardrobe” kind of way.
So here’s the problem with this. The latest and greatest leaders emerging from the church are excited to lead and when they look at the scope of where they can lead, they don’t relate to the Children’s Ministry. It looks a little boring, weird and uncomfortable. It’s that bad stigma that hasn’t gone away. Kidmin has bad PR and the stigma has to change. Not only is the Children’s Ministry one of the most strategic ministries in the church, but it can be really fun and innovative. It just often lacks leadership that can take it there.
I do think that some of the best Children’s Pastors are successful Junior High Pastors who can bring their experience and relevancy to a different set of volunteers and leaders. They can bring a new and fresh perspective to working with kids. It’s not just screaming two-year olds and dirty diapers. It’s so much more!
So, if you’re thinking about ministry to kids as a career, I encourage you to see where this ministry needs to go. It needs strong leadership that will take it to new heights creatively to reach a Disney and Nickelodeon generation without totally cheesing off their parents. If you can bring that to the table, then welcome aboard!
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