I talked to a budding new children’s ministry leader the other day. She simply wanted to talk about the wonderful world of kidmin and get some advice as she navigated through this new role entrusted to her. One of the first things I asked her was how her relationship was with her senior pastor. She delightfully answered, “Great! We are so close and talk at least once a day.” If you share a similar experience with your senior pastor then I celebrate you. That’s right! You get a gold star from me. Whether you like it or not, the success of your children’s ministry department can rise and fall on the relationship or lack there of that you share with your senior pastor.
In my experience in this area, I have seen both the good, bad, and the ugly. I’ve witnessed vision blossom into a beautiful garden of purpose on account of support garnered from the senior pastor. Conversely I’ve seen the traumatic effects brought on by the lack of such support leaving ministry personnel burnt out, discouraged, and even suicidal. As a children’s ministry influencer, I’ve sat down with multiple leaders struggling to keep their head above water. A vast amount of them attribute their failures to a lack of support from their senior pastor stating things like, “My pastor could care less about the children’s ministry.”
Now I’m not knocking anybody’s experience. I do believe that there are cases in which abusive behavior brought on by the senior pastor leaves a children’s ministry leader with no other option but to leave a toxic environment for their own well-being and sanity. But, indulge me for a moment. What if the majority of complaints I’ve heard from ministry leaders were the result of a simple miscommunication. For this reason, Child’s Heart sat down with 3 senior pastors for a special conversation on “The Heart of A Pastor.” If you missed it, you can catch the replay here.
So what’s the heart of your pastor? Have you ever asked your pastor what THEIR definition of success is when it comes to the children’s ministry? Have you ever sat down and got a clear understanding of what THEIR expectations are for you and the children’s ministry department as a whole? Do you know the things that disappoint THEM and the things that THEY celebrate regarding the children and families at the church? Have you sat down with your senior pastor to ensure that your vision for the children’s ministry is like hand and glove with THEIR vision for the church as a whole? These are all important questions every children’s ministry leader must ask themselves to promote a healthy relationship with the senior leadership at their church. Know this. Where there is a lack of communication and understanding, there is an enemy lurking in the midst waiting to cause as much confusion as possible. It is his desire to steal, kill, and destroy your relationship with your senior pastor. Don’t give him that chance! Cut his vile plot off at the knees by…
Praying for your pastor - Let them know you are praying for them as well. Don’t just say you are praying for them but actually do it! They need it and so do you.
Checking in regularly with your pastor to see how you can support them - They need your support. Check-in regularly to see how you can support them in and outside of your department area.
Thanking your pastor - Always find ways to show your appreciation for your pastor in authentic ways. A little appreciation can go a long way, especially on the hard days. Be the one who brightens your pastor’s day!
Keeping the lines of communication open with your pastor - Always keep your pastor informed on all things children’s ministry. With everything on your pastor’s plate, it is your job to keep the ministry and its happenings at the forefront.
Having grace for your pastor - Remember your pastor is human. They are going to make mistakes. We all do! Guard yourself against the spirit of offense and have grace for their shortcomings.
At the end of the day, despite how you may feel, your pastor does care about the children’s ministry. In fact, they cared so much they hired you! Lead and love well friends.