I am wrapping up my Pastor as…. series. Pastor as Theologian may be the most controversial out of all four.
Why you need to be a theologian is because you as a shepherd, leader, and disciple need to think right thoughts about God. A. W. Tozer famously said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” It is important for us as Pastors and especially those of us who teach children and students that we not only think thoughts of God but that we think rightly about who God is.
I would argue that what you believe about God affects who you follow, how you lead and how you love. For many years I avoided hard conversations about theology because I was “only a kids pastor.” What I didn’t realize is what I thought about God rightly or wrongly affected how I lead and the curriculum I chose and the lessons I wrote. As a pastor to kids, you can feel more like a daycare provider, event coordinator, middle manager, after school program director than a pastor. Those practical aspects are very real and very time consuming but the underlying reality if you are called to lead those who teach kids no matter what your church calls you be it pastor, leader or director you must think right thoughts about God.
In calling Children’s and Youth workers to be Pastor/Theologians I am not saying that you have to sequester yourself and devote yourself to parsing of Trinitarian theology but you should be asking if our lessons and our messages are Trinitarian. Do we preach in such a way that our kids are familiar with the role and the work of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit? This is not the job of the curriculum companies although resources to help pastors think through lessons theologically would be much appreciated. The job of creating a firm theological foundation is the job of the pastor.
One of the things I have always been blessed is youth pastors who really get the value of kids ministry. The more I talk with kids pastors from around the country I have come to find out that is far from the norm. I have heard stories that would make you laugh to stories that would make you cry and everything in between.
The past 10 years the word that has dominated in kids and youth ministry culture is “family ministry.” A family pastor is something that never existed in title although it did in function in a few churches. I believe the drive and passion for family ministry have had a powerful effect on the focus of churches when it comes to next Generation ministry. The beautiful side benefit of this drive has been a much-needed closing of the relational gap between youth pastors and kids pastors. It is by no means complete but is far closer today than it was even 8 years ago.
That being said here are 3 things I think every kid’s pastor wants their youth pastor to know.
1. The success of my ministry is determined by the health of yours. – One of the biggest mistakes any church can make is creating ministry silos. Ministry happens best in healthy, highly relational environments. Too many kids, pastors try to keep kids longer than they should to many youth pastors try to attract kids sooner than they should. If the goal of our environments is solely numbers you will manipulate people and figures to get what you want. If the ultimate goal is life change and gospel proclamation you will care more about the health of the environment you are preparing the kids you are ministering to, for.
2. I want the same things as you – Rather than fight for cool points (a fight most kids pastors will lose to a youth pastor every time). How about sitting down sharing a cup of coffee and share with each other what your dream for your kid is. In most cases, you will find that you are both fighting for the same thing. If you both equally value the gospel you will celebrate and even learn from the differing methods to communicate and transfer that value to the kids and families you serve.
3. My job is just as hard as yours just in a different way – Being a kids pastor is hard. Being a youth pastor is hard. They are both hard in a different way. The children’s pastor must ground children biblically. They must do so at multiple age levels at once, as a result, learn to manage multiple environments and multiple groups of volunteers. Kids pastors have to balance safety, fun, security and gospel clarity. Kids pastors understand that the issues youth pastors face are very serious but youth pastors need to understand that to a kid losing a pet is a serious of a loss as to losing a girlfriend or boyfriend is to a 15-year-old. Preparing to speak to teenagers every week is difficult but so is preparing 4-20 people to speak each week.
Here are the breakouts I am doing. I would love for you to come to CPC this year. Michael Chanley has done an amazing job of keeping the things about CPC that have made it great and fixing some of the things that have kept some people away from CPC. There is a great mix of fresh faces and well established voices at CPC this year. If you are considering a conference please consider CPC if you are on the fence get off the fence and register today.
First Impressions – Environments Matter – Leadership/Administration, Volunteers, Advanced Topics
Creating intentional environments for kids comes from a realization that environments matter. How clean, safe, friendly and engaging our environments are gives us the ability to preach the gospel with clarity. We will talk about the power of a smile and the need for a background check.
Leading for the Long Haul – Personal Growth, Leadership/Administration, Advanced Topics
There are certain things we can only learn through longevity. Our health as a leader determines how long we last. We will talk about the five things that every leader must do in order for them to last in ministry.
Never Serve Alone – Creating a Culture of Team – Large Church, Volunteers, For Beginners
If you have been in children’s ministry for more than a day or two you know you cannot do it alone. To be successful in kid’s ministry you have to build great teams. We will discuss the practical aspects of creating a ministry that attracts volunteers.
Hope to see you at either Orlando or San Diego.
You are what you allow define you.
I found this post over at the Redeemercitytocity.com blog. He had some great points definately worth a read.
Talking about what defines you. I think this is something that every children’s pastor and leader needs to revisit from time to time.
You are not the size of your kids ministry
You are not as smart as you think you are
You are not how relevant you are
You are not the amount of twitter followers you have
You are not the coolness of your invironments
You are not the conferences you speak at or attend
You are not the check in system your church uses
You are not your ability to speak and communicate
What you are is
You are a Child of the King
You are redeemed by Grace
You are a loving spouse
You are a caring parent
You are accepted
You are beautiful not because of how you look but because of how you respond to the correcting hand of your creator
You are annointed
You are a man/woman of God
You mean the world to your team and every kid in your church
You are only where you are today because the never stoping, never ceasing, unbreakable always and forever love of Jesus Christ our Redemeer. Never Forget that!