In all my years of kids ministry I have always been so amazed at the wonder kids have. I have been equally amazed at how uncomfortable I can be and many adults can be with the idea of wonder itself. Here is the problem with wonder. You can’t explain it. You can’t reason with it. It is what it is.
I try my best to keep wonder alive in my kids. My three year old loves the color pink. I ask her every time she says she loves pink and it’s her favorite color “Baby, who made the color pink?” She says “Daddy, God did” I say “That’s right He did because He loves you so much”
I want my kids to grow up with no box to put Jesus in. We start off as kids thinking Jesus can do anything because he can. We then spend our entire life trying to fit Jesus into our carry on luggage. Something we successfully do with every pat answer we are given and we give others. I love what C.S. Lewis says in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe “He is not a safe lion but he’s good” I can think of no quote that sums up how we must always view Christ to maintain that heart of wonder. A few years ago I begin a journey that I believe has lead to the greatest tool in keeping wonder alive, the gospel.
How does the Gospel keep wonder alive?
1. The Gospel address our sinfulness and His sufficiency. It makes no attempt to solve every mystery. The Gospel is good news. It’s a declaration not a doctrinal dissertation. Should we search things out? Yes. Does Theology matter. Absolutely. But if we think have an answer to every question of the human heart will help us we are mistaken. The surest way to kill wonder is believe you have an answer to every question.
2. Bring everything back to Jesus. – There are few things that i have found that have brought me to a place of wonder more than the meditation on scripture. When you start to think and speak of the greatness of the majesty of who Jesus is and the power of what He has done you are overcome with wonder because the grace of God is truly wondrously amazing.
3. Wonder springs from the a place of passion – I believe law kills wonder because you are so worried about do what is right, about being good enough, about trying harder. When you really believe that there is a God who loved you enough to send his one and only son into the world because He thought you and I were worth saving. It creates wonder. It instills passion.
4. When you start to understand the power of the Gospel you see the sovereignty of God at work. The more aware I because of the sovereign work of God in my life and in lives of others I am filled with worship and wonder because I am constantly reminded He is God and I am not.
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 storys 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 has 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 kids 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 silo’s. Ministry happens best in healthy, highly relational environments. To many kids pastors try keep kids longer than they should to many youth pastors try to attract kids sooner than they should. If they 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 ministring 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 a 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 teen agers every week is difficult but so is preparing 4-20 people to speak each week.
What are most churches looking for in a children’s pastor.
3. Passionate about God
4. Passionate about kids
5. Organizational skills
6. Works well with volunteers
I think that church should look for:
1. Passion for God
3. Passion for kids and families
4. Chemistry with staff especially with the youth pastor
5. Ability reproduce themselves in others
6. Vision to attract leaders and build a team.
7. Ability to sell vision to leaders.
8. Able to recognize gifts and abilities of others. Know how to place who where.
10. Can delegate authority not just responsibility.
11. Ability to fail well.
Trying to keep this post short this time but head over to Children’s Ministry online Kenny has a much better list than me check it out.
In my previous post I was talking about the lack of desire from young people to be a children’s pastor. Of all the teens, young adults and especially those in Bible college I have asked what they want to do in the ministry almost all say youth pastor. I don’t say this in a bitter way at all because I was one of those who said the same thing I want to be a youth pastor.
Before I post my thoughts I do want to back up a bit. At age 13 I had a dramatic experience and knew that God was calling me to full time ministry. I went to four years of bible college took classes to prepare for youth ministry. I did a youth pastor internship for a summer in the church I currently serve as a children’s pastor.
My pastor approached me at bible college and asked me to work full time at the church with the youth. I moved out to utica right out of bible college. I arrived in Utica helped my friend Mike Servello start the youth group. I was here for about a month when one of the pastors sat me down and explained to me that I was in charge of all the kids ministries.
Honestly I was devastated. I felt I was called to work with youth. I just moved across the country. I prayed and asked God if this is what you want me to do then you have to give me a passion for it. It didn’t happen overnight but it did happen. I now feel so passionately about kids ministry that given a choice I will always choose kids ministry.
To be a children’s pastor you need the following:
1. Passion for God
2. Need to be very administrative. You can’t be a children’s pastor without some level of administrative ability.
3. You must be more kingdom minded than department minded.
4. You have to realize that what you do may not be seen by man and be genuinely ok with that.
5. You have to know how to recognize the gifts that people have and know how to implement them.
6. You have to know how to reproduce yourself in others.
7. You need to be able to communicate truth and vision to adult and kids in a simple manor.
8. Work well with the youth pastor. I love our youth pastor. He loves God, so do I and loves Guess again so do I. Check out his blog.
8. You need to have ADD – well that may not be a requirement but it does help, and most children’s pastors I know have a touch of ADD if they were really honest.
Let me know what i am missing.