Last week I looked into the eyes of some very apprehensive 11-year-olds. It was their last Sunday in “KidzTown.” Even though…
We are super thankful for those who serve in youth ministry AND children’s ministry!!! Steve Adams, our children’s pastor at Saddleback…
Recently, I had a conversation with a frustrated youth ministry volunteer. The gist: the lead youth worker seemed to be discounting all ideas generated outside his personal cranial area. Offers for help and assistance were met with initial welcome. But that welcome seemed to be in ‘door mat language’ only. Once on the inside, the hospitality seemed to wane.
Admittedly, I don’t know much about the true situation. I am not on staff at the church. I’m not a volunteer in the ministry. I don’t have kids participating in the program. But as I sensed the hurt and betrayal held deeply by the mom and youth volunteer, it caused me to stop and really think.
As a youth pastor, I have a strong sense of vision for where God wants this ministry to go. But I wonder if I ever sacrifice accuracy for speed. Because I know where we are going, do I ever run over people to get there? Do I hear suggestions as threats to the vision—and do I respond accordingly? Do I welcome people in (on the surface), only to minimize or relegate them to “safe” tasks where they can’t ‘mess anything up?
I pray it isn’t so!
See, as a pastor it IS my responsibility to fulfill God’s vision for the ministry he’s entrusted to me. The BEST way to do that for long-term kingdom impact is in helping others catch that same vision! And that usually doesn’t happen overnight. Could I reach the destination more quickly if I ran alone? Probably. But how many lives do I leave in the wake?
Praying. Praying for the vision, your team members, your nay-sayers, your leadership. (It does NOT mean praying people out of your way.)
Listening. Asking lots of feedback questions. Mirroring statements you don’t understand. (It does not mean forming a rebuttal while hearing the words coming from the other person’s mouth.)
Slowing down. Being purposeful in implementation. Using an incremental format for bringing change. (It does NOT mean giving up on what God’s said to you—or the people he’s asked you to equip.)
Are you fast? Or are you accurate?
Darren is a veteran youth pastor in Corpus Christi, TX. Find him online at www.everyonescalledtoyouthministry.com or @darrensutton.
So, yes, children’s ministry is important because that’s the launching pad, but if you don’t have stage one, stage two, stage three, the rocket goes up, and the rocket goes down. You need every booster. The other thing we stress is that the number one evangelism strategy is parents taking their small children to church. Nothing else comes anywhere close to that method for welcoming people into the kingdom of God.