This little series turned out better than I planned. The feedback was incredible with lots of good stuff to think about. The funny thing is that none of this was planned. Coming back from vacation, it’s been a little harder to get back into a blogging routine. My post on Monday was a last minute idea and more of a short and simple post just to get one out on Monday. Funny how your involvement turned this into quite an engaging conversation.
Before all of this started (before I got the email asking for my advice) I found this blog post by Tim Stevens. Tim addresses this very same subject we’ve been discussing all week. If he were a children’s pastor, he suggested that he would get rid of any volunteer who were not passionate about serving kids. He recognized that it would be a dificult time as there wouldn’t be enough people, but you’d have a much more exciting base of bought-in volunteers.
I agree whole heartedly with Tim. There are plenty of parents I don’t want in my children’s program. However, I think there is room for a middle ground. I’m going to actively recruit parents who are willing. Some of those parents will do what is needed of them and thenÂ go back to something else. Others may discover a passion they never knew existed.
So in my book, requiring parents to serve is a bad idea, despite the handfull of cool results. As a leader, recruit some willing parents who are interested in joining the team. Oh, and whenever you do come across those “called to kids,” snatch them up before anyone else can get them! 🙂
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I agree. I’d close/not open a room than have untrained and unmotivated leaders with the kids. I believe it’s much more respectful and honoring to the importance of what we do.
by the way – i was drawn to and called to children’s ministry through being required to serve. but that’s a story for another day.
This is a challenging topic, and I’m not surprised that people would have strong opinions about it. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask two questions that might cause us to think a little bit differently about this challenge.
1. When it was said, “There are plenty of parents I don’t want in my children’s program”, I wonder why? Is it because they are hard to work with or train? Don’t have natural abilities? Have a bad attitude? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, I wonder if the church is not the very best place for those folks to learn some important lessons about serving, loving, being reliable and patient? After all, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Right? And remember too, you didn’t have to pass a test to become a parent. We learn as we go, and become better at it as we see good examples around us and practice the hard stuff, like being reliable, loving and patient.
2. The talented “Top Shelf” people who feel “called” to serving in children’s ministry can also grow spiritually by being mentors and stretching their skills by teaching the other adults by their words or just by their actions.
Isn’t this part of making disciples? Aren’t we supposed to be showing people how to love and serve?
I think sometimes people can use the excuse of “I don’t feel called to this ministry” as an excuse for opting out of something that they just don’t want to do.
Respectfully but honestly submitted as one person’s opinion.
PS, Over the years I have been a volunteer or a leader in children’s and youth ministries. At one church, my husband and I were asked to be on the rotational nursery roster because all parents with children in the nursery were expected to participate. We thought that was a fair and great idea.