In the thirty years I've been involved in children's ministries, I've noticed there is often a communication problem between church leadership and the children's ministry. I think the problem exists because we forget that communication is hard work.
Take the telephone for instance. We love to use the phone but someone had to do a lot of work for us to take advantage of its usefulness. We forget that for a telephone to work someone had to go in the woods and cut down a tree, drag it out of the woods then they had to cut off the limbs and skin off the bark, then weather treat it and then dig a hole and plant the pole. Then they had to repeat the process a few million times and then connect all the poles with wire. Then they take the connected poles and connect them to your house. That's a whole lot of work.
Communication within your ministry is also hard work.
I also think those of us in children's ministries forget there is one group of children we have to communicate with and three groups of adults we have to work with. We must communicate well with parents. We must communicate well with the workers around us and we must communicate well with the leaders above us.
Some who work with children are insecure and intimidated by strong leaders within the church. In many churches this creates separation. I've even seen children's workers develop an "Us verses Them" mentality. Senior pastors and church leaders are reluctant to be associated with anything that is silly or poorly organized. Just because there is a level of leadership above you doesn't mean you don't have the ability to lead and influence. But if you are going to influence leaders above you must be willing to make the necessary changes. It's not up to the leadership above you to change; it's up to you to bring forth the needed changes.
You must be an example. In 1Timothy 4:12: "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity," Paul is telling Timothy that even a young man can win the respect of the entire church by his behavior. I've found a well-run children's ministry draws better workers and wins the respect of the entire church, including the leaders above you.
The children's ministry and the children's ministry director are both extensions of the pastor's ministry. Ephesians 4:11-12: "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
Children's Pastor is not listed as an office in the New Testament church. He or she ministers by the authority of the pastor. The local church is a microcosm of the universal church. Christ Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. In the local church the pastor is the trunk from with branches of ministry extend. Our loyalty to the senior pastor must be unquestioned. If you aren't loyal to the leaders above you, you are opening the door for the leaders below you to be disloyal.
To be effective every children's minister must learn how to communicate effectively to the leaders above them! And to help you become effective, here are ten ways to gain the respect of the leaders above you and be an influencer and leader even though you are not the lead pastor:
- Do not run to your pastor or supervisor every time you are troubled. Don't go to those above you for encouragement, you must seek God. Don't run to others within the ministry for answers and encouragement. Be like David and learn how to encourage yourself in the Lord!