This year will be my 16th in Children’s Ministry. I started out as a volunteer in the fall of 1996 and have been here ever since. It’s been a painful and exciting journey. I’m glad I didn’t miss out on it. When I look back on these years there are a few things I wish someone would had told me before starting out. Here they are:
1. No one will ask to mentor you.
Really, when you stop and think about it, it’s not their job to. Find someone who’s doing what you want to do and ask how they got there.
2. Don’t expect a lot of time with the Senior Pastor.
He’s got a heavier load to carry than you do. He may carve out some time occasionally, but don’t expect it. But show appreciation when he does.
3. Only half of your relational time will be with kids.
The other half should be with leaders. They will be the ones investing in kids’ lives more than you. Invest in the investors.
4. People will leave because of you.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing on your part or theirs. Invite people on the bus but be OK if they don’t get on. God may have another destination in mind for them and you.
5. People will come because of you.
That’s the upside. This whole ministry thing is relational. Use that to your advantage.
6. You will be misunderstood.
Every great leader is. There’s this guy I know named Jesus who was misunderstood from time to time. Things turned out OK for Him in the end. They will for you too.
7. Don’t try to make everyone happy.
You can’t and you shouldn’t even try. If you’re knowing God a little bit better and loving Him a little bit more every day the rest will take care of itself.
8. Don’t solve every problem yourself.
Most people can figure their own stuff out if you ask them good questions and point them to God’s word.
9. Less is more.
I know it’s cliché, but it is SO true. Focus on doing a few things EXCEPTIONALLY well.
10. Just because something is a sacred cow doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) BBQ it.
The reverse is also true.
11. You are your biggest asset.
No one can make you healthy. You have to do that yourself. It’ll cost money and time. Don’t be afraid to spend either.
12. Everyone shouldn’t weigh in on every decision.
Otherwise you’ll get bogged down and nothing will get done. Build a small, core, team of leaders with a proven track record to help you make wise decisions.
13. Make time for fun.
Sometimes fun happens spontaneously. But a lot of times it needs to be planned. Make time to refresh, rest, and relax.
14. Being a “success” means nothing if it costs you your family.
True success is not occupational. It’s relational.
15. There’s no one-size-fits-all map.
Everything from curriculum to strategy MUST be adjusted to your setting. Just because it worked somewhere else doesn’t mean it will work where you are.
16. The pain is worth it.
When it hurts you’ll be tempted to leave. Don’t. Play through the pain. As much hurt as there is you’ll come out that much better on the other side of it.