One of my favorite books, by one of my favorite authors, is the 4 Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive by Patrick Lencioni. I remember reading this book several years ago and wondering if there were a set of obsessions, or disciplines, that would help me be an extraordinary Children’s Pastor. Since that time I’ve been thinking about and talking to other Kids’ Pastors about what those disciplines might be. I’ve landed on these four:
1. Build a healthy leadership team
Building a healthy ministry to kids starts with building a healthy kids’ ministry leadership team. As the Children’s Pastor/Director your job is to lead the leaders of leaders. You may call them department heads or directors. What term you use isn’t important. What matters is you get the right people on the bus to help you lead the ministry well.
2. Create clarity for the ministry
Once you’ve built the leadership team you’ve got to give them direction. Casting vision to the ministry starts with getting your leadership team to buy in to it. Your strategy should match your vision and be aligned with the direction your Lead Pastor is taking the rest of the church. Here are some questions to answer when creating clarity (taken from The Advantage):
- Why do we exist?
- How do we behave?
- What do we do?
- How will we succeed?
- What is most important, right now?
- Who must do what?
In addition to this playbook you’ll also want to create an orientation packet and process for potential volunteers to go through so everyone is working on the same page. Here’s a copy of ours to help you get started.
3. Represent the ministry well
Part of your job as a Children’s Pastor is to represent the interests and concerns of your ministry to parents and church leadership. Regularly share stories of how God is working in families’ lives. Put together a year-end report to show where growth and movement is happening. This is something you can’t delegate. You can get your team’s help on this, but ultimately you’re the one the church has chosen to speak up for kids.
4. Equip people to disciple kids
This is my favorite of the four. Equipping people to disciple kids is all about providing training to your volunteers, resources for families, conferences, classes, mentors, etc. You don’t have to meet with everyone one-on-one by yourself. You can’t. But you can provide the resources and coaching to your leadership team who will mentor volunteers, who in turn will mentor kids and partner with parents.
I see Children’s Pastors fall into the trap all the time of thinking their job is to do everything. It’s not. You’re job is to obsess about these four disciplines and focus 80% of your time on them. Be healthy. Be clear. Represent. Equip. When you do that, everybody wins.