Over the years, I’ve seen too many gifted children’s ministry leaders in places they really shouldn’t be. Being in this place is dangerous and significantly limits their leadership. Many leaders might shrug their shoulders and say, “I don’t have a choice.” Many leaders feel stuck and don’t see a way out. I’d be bold enough to say that leaders who continue to go to these places will never grow their ministry in a truly healthy way.
You might be wondering what “places” I’m talking about. It’s not as bad as it seems, but the danger is very real. The “place” is different for every leader, but every leader has one that will lure them. Yes, even you have one. Let me name a couple:
- The preschool classroom that is always short an adult leader
- The check-in computer that doesn’t have a volunteer to run it
- The elementary small group that’s too big for the teenager who has been leading it
- The presentation computer that keeps crashing in the middle of the service… every week
The great thing about us leaders is that we’re terrific utility players. We can fill any role because we’ve done every role. Small Group leader? Done that. Preschool leader? Did that for years? Check-in operator? Actually an expert. Here’s what you have to know.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.
You might even be the best at it. Doesn’t matter. You have something far more important to do.
I know, the reasons why you need to step into that classroom are compelling. If you don’t step in, families are going to get turned away. If the check-in station isn’t manned, families are going to be frustrated. There are always AMAZING reasons for stepping in to these roles, but you have to remember something. You are the Children’s Pastor, Elementary Director, Preschool Coordinator (or whatever your leadership title is) simply because you can do these roles. You’re in this position because of your leadership and when you step into a classroom, group or behind a computer, you relinquish your leadership.
When a family is frustrated or confused, it’s going to be difficult to lead them when you’re stuck checking kids in. When a volunteer is on the verge of burning out, you’re not going to be able to lead them to a healthy place if you’re stuck in a classroom on another hall. If there’s an emergency, you’re going to be hard pressed to respond and lead your ministry through a challenging situation if you’re doing something you can’t get away from.
Yes, there are emergencies. There are times where you might need to step in to save the day – but these should be exceptions. Your ministry needs a leader and that requires strong leadership. It might mean closing a classroom one weekend. It might mean working really hard earlier in the week to make sure there’s someone to cover an emergency in check-in if it comes up. It might mean developing a short list of on-call volunteers who can step in when in urgent need.
Lead your ministry. Know where you belong each Sunday and resist the urge to fall into the places you are not meant to be.
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