Dick Gruber shares signs of a healthy children’s ministry compiled by veteran children’s pastor Bob Hahn.
Below is the complete email from Bob that Dick referenced:
I had a meeting with a District guy last week who told me, “The Children’s Pastor is the most difficult portfolio in the church next to the Senior Pastor.” While I was impressed with his insight, it made me question, “Why?”
I remember how hard it was, years ago, to justify this position when it seemed many were questioning the need. In my ministry I had to be a little defensive for the sake of the kids and for my own job security too, or so I thought. Unfortunately, some Senior Pastors don’t seem to know what Children’s Pastors do because they have so much on their own plate.
It is fair to take the time, once in a while, to let the Senior Pastor know how good his Children’s Department is and why. I jotted down a few notes to myself and want to pass them along, for what it’s worth.
A HEALTHY CHILDREN’S DEPARTMENT
- In a church of 500 there will be, on-average, at least 100 children (with at least 200 on the roster) and at least 50 trained and screened volunteers.
- The nursery is usually open for all services 3 or 4 times a week or 12 to 16 times a month.
- With rotating mom’s cooperating with the regular staff it can involve at least 20 caregivers.
- A clean well-staffed nursery will attract families who usually have very high standards for their infant children.
- Many congregations add to the demand for infant care with church events expecting high-quality babysitter services as well.
- A well-managed Preschool Ministry during church services can usually draw numbers that will almost rival any other department outside the Sanctuary.
- Security systems require vigilant administration to communicate to the parents how very safe their children are in their church environment.
- Safe student-worker ratios, age-appropriate rooms and background checks for all volunteers are all very high maintenance necessities.
- Assuming two rooms per-service, three services per-week, a good ration of rotating volunteers and greeters; there should be 30 volunteers in this area.
- The flagship of the fleet for the Children’s Department is often the “Junior Church” for the school-age and pre-teen kids of your church.
- Here, the Children’s Pastor must be able to present discipleship like Paul, worship like David and be as captivating as Disney World.
- The Children’s Pastor also has to draw church people (especially parents) to him/herself to duplicate his/her ministry into other adults.
- Assuming a church of 500, there would easily be the need for at least 20 volunteers to minister to all the children in all the services.
- The icing on the departmental cake, and an indispensable component, is the extracurricular events and activities that draw new people and energize families.
- Outreach rallies and in-house “Crusades” pump spiritual excitement into the congregation and draw new volunteers to the cause.
- Camps, trips and outings not only make indelible memories for the children; they are evidence of quality ministry to both parents and pastors.
- Public performances and pageants give children both a sense of mission and belonging as well as giving the parents another reason to be proud of their kids.
While we don’t want to get too defensive, it does help the Senior Pastor if we present our ministry to him in a good light so he can clearly see what is happening in our area under his leadership; for there will be times when he will be called upon to represent our ministry to others.
Dick also mentioned the following links
were also mentioned has an open discussion about children’s ministry with Josh & Christina Torres and Jimmy & Lori Lewis. They share advice for those getting started in children’s ministry.
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