By Dema Kohen
One of the most repeated questions I heard as a children’s pastor from other leaders was, “How do you do it?”
My initial response was always letting out a tired laugh because, in my heart of hearts, I knew what they were asking.
- How do I make all this work?
- How do I make our ministry exciting, cutting edge, and have the “wow factor”?
- How do I increase our attendance and show growth in my statistics?
- How do I get more people excited about serving kids?
- How do I keep on going when it feels like no one really cares about the children?
Honestly, I laughed because I was exhausted from asking myself the same questions.
I was constantly looking for new approaches, new ways to increase growth, and new fun things for kids.
A big chunk of my time and energy was spent on creating the greatest of all-time events, finding creative ways to engage, and inventing new systems to improve the already countless systems I had.
That’s what we’re supposed to do, right?
Please don’t get me wrong. All that is meaningful stuff to process. But, looking back, I wish my response to that question had been different.
I wonder if instead of trying to create a “joyful kid’s ministry,” we focused on rediscovering what that phrase even means.
To most of us, a successful kid’s ministry is attached to seeing numerical growth, new guests, seamless systems, amazing environments, and a curriculum that makes kids beg for more.
We compare ourselves to the big church down the road and hope what we are doing even begins to compare with what they are offering. We lay awake at night dreaming up the next brightest idea.
Maybe we’ve been trying so hard to be joyful that we’ve missed out on the joyful, vibrant, life-giving, holy parts of leading a ministry for kids and families. Our “joyful” has become more about doing and less about being.
Flipping the Narrative in Children’s Ministry
So, what if we flipped the narrative?
What if a joyful kid’s ministry
- became less about the how-tos and more about people?
- means not working at our desks to create the next biggest thing but being with kids?
- is about seeing kids being transformed by simple discipleship—like actually being in the Word and not just hearing about the Word?
- asks people what they need instead of assuming what they want?
- is about the simple and the holy?
- is about leading kids to understand what it means to be in the presence of the almighty God?
How do we do it? How do we change the narrative?
Ask God to create what he wants to create and let that be enough. He will show you. Let him lead your thoughts, your ideas, and you to the ministry he wants for your church and your community.
When we are led by only him, the word joyful won’t even come close to describing your ministry to kids.
PS- Consider checking out our “Pizza Pit Stop” Volunteer Event Kit to connect with your children’s ministry volunteers. Or, if the timing is right, you may enjoy our “Back-to-School Kickoff Kit – Cultivating Kindness”! A fun and joyful way to begin the new school year!
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