On Monday I wrote a blog post about starting your Kidmin career. Yesterday I followed it up with another post about starting options. These posts got me thinking a lot about my humble beginnings in Children’s Ministry. There is no doubt, if I could have done it over again, I’d do it the same. Why? I believe that God ordained my steps each and every step along the way. I believed I was following God in the steps I took. Looking back, I see that was true. However, would I recommend someone do exactly what I did? I’m not sure, maybe not. Not unless they felt God was opening up that door.
Here’s my story. I did a one year internship after High School with a missions organization. That year was dedicated to refining my call in ministry. I knew God had called me to Children’s Ministry, but in that year, God gave me specific marching orders. I left that internship with a five year plan that had been bathed in prayer and inspired by God. Part of that plan was to be a Children’s Pastor while getting my degree in college. I really hadn’t thought about how difficult it would be to become a Children’s Pastor as a 19 year old in a town that wasn’t home, but I felt that it was the plan God gave me. I was attending Church on the Move at the time, which I LOVED! I wanted to get more involved there, bud I didn’t have a car at the time and it was a good 20-25 minute drive from campus. It wasn’t really a viable option, so I just started serving in a Children’s Ministry outreach to inner-city kids through my school’s community outreach program. After a few weeks, I was leading that ministry. Four months later, I was directing all of “Friendship/Adoption” ministries at my school. By January (6 months after getting to school, I found out about a small church that was looking for a Children’s Pastor through my director within Community Outreach. A few weeks later, I was a 19 year old Children’s Pastor to 10 kids. God gave me marching orders and as I moved in the direction he set for me and the doors he opened along the way, things fell into place.
However, if I didn’t have that clear of a plan, but I felt God was calling me to ministry and I had a chance to talk to the 2010 version of Children’s Ministry, I think I’d give myself different advice. I’d say, go to Church on the Move. Become the best volunteer they’ve ever had. you’ve got four years to learn from Jim Wideman, Willie George and some of the best ministry leaders in the world. Figure something out with the car situation. Make it work. Certainly there is someone on campus who goes to the early service and certainly there is someone on campus who goes to the late service. Arrange your rides and stay there all day. Milk that opportunity for all its worth. You’ll be glad you did. It will set you on a path well beyond any other opportunity.
It’s interesting to think of where I’d be now if I’d done things differently. I don’t have any regrets. The experiences I’ve had the relationships I’ve made over the years have shaped me significantly. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. However, I might push someone else toward a direction knowing what I know now.
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Although I understand why you might push someone to volunteer and learn from the bigger creative churches, and work hard building a path in that team, there is something to be said for the time you spent in small church and traditional church ministry. I think it was in those fires that the desire to be a resource to children’s pastors was refined. I also think you learned a lot of lessons on leadership and entrepreneurship that you couldn’t have learned any other way. And last of all, now that you’re at a bigger church with bigger resources, I’ve never seen you take it for granted. You don’t have any sense of entitlement I see some children’s pastors have who’ve only worked for big organizations. You’ve had to scrap for resources before and I think it birthed a work ethic and creativity that makes you very grateful for the resources you have now. I think the downside of your approach is that you’ve had to work harder to be connected and there was some learning curve challenges that maybe could have been easier, but I think that is the beauty of today’s blogging world. Pastors at smaller churches have access to incredible free information that was not available 10 years ago.
Man really cool story Kenny. Wish I had that kind of clarity in my life. Really really do. Thanks for continuing to pour into people.
.-= J.C. Thompson´s last blog ..Need a few reasons to get an iPad for your Family Ministry? =-.