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Decluttering in Children's Ministry

That’s it! I couldn’t take it anymore. It was going to be me or “her.” Waking up this morning was like a scene from an old western movie. I set the alarm clock for 4:30am in anticipation. When the alarm went off I realized this was a duel that could wait another 30 minutes. Okay…the 30 minutes of extra rest was over and it was time to get up. After a piping hot cup of coffee the duel was on. I grabbed a black garbage bag and said, “Draw!” Fortunately I was too quick for her and the happening was happening. I was finally cleaning out my pantry!

To my shame this was a project I had avoided for over a year. Sure, I knew how to “dust” it off a bit but cleaning it out in the way it needed was a task I considered to be just too daunting in light of all of my other daily to-dos. Cleaning my pantry was work! It required me to go through every item to determine what was expired and what needed to be pitched. It required me to face sticky messes that I had no clue were there because I just kept piling canned goods on top of another. It required me to pull back boxes from the wall not knowing what was in them and be bold enough to throw away good things that I knew in my heart just didn’t serve me anymore. The end result was GLORIOUS!

As I was taking in the joy of my finished work, I began to get emotional as I thought about children’s ministry. I thought about that children’s minister who is so discouraged right now, and all because their ministry, like my pantry, has become overran with stuff. Unfortunately, their inability to organize and declutter has caused a significant amount of stress in their life that has hurt not only them but the entire department. When it comes to children’s ministry, organization is the name of the game. It’s never too late to get and stay organized. Remember, time wasted is time that you will never have again. At the end of the day, Organized children’s ministry leaders get to do more with the time they have. They don’t waste their time on activities or items that don’t add value to the church, the department, the kids, or themselves.

It’s time to grab that trash bag! We’re about to clean up more than just that supply closet. It’s time to purge with a purpose and organize the way you do children’s ministry. Check out these tips to help you get started.

1. Mind The Deadline: Choose to schedule and adhere to deadlines. In the absence of a defined schedule, it is easy to fall victim to every request made of you. Your time is valuable! Don’t waste it. Prioritize and allocate time towards doing what needs to be done.

2. Avoid Procrastination: Delay, avoidance, exhaustion, whatever you call it result from procrastination. Don’t do it! I know it’s tempting, especially if you work in an open space environment where people can just pop in their heads at any time, but don’t let what started out to be a joke suck up a huge chunk of your day. Strive to protect your productivity and get things done at the appropriate time. Remember, procrastination not only affects you but those around you. Don’t force those laboring alongside you to scramble because you’re not disciplined. Trust me! Avoid future stress by choosing to GET IT DONE!

3. Everything in it’s Proper Place: If your ministry is not structured in such a way where everything has a proper place, then it’s time to get to work. An organized department means keeping and returning items to their proper place. This includes storing, labeling, and managing things properly. While you’re at it, stop allowing your ministry to be the dumping ground for everything that well-intentioned people don’t want in their homes anymore. It’s children’s ministry, not the goodwill.

EXTRA: Think about placing people in their proper place as well. As a leader you are called to manage and steward the giftings of those around you. Do so with a spirit of excellence by getting to know your people and placing them in the proper spot where they can thrive and benefit the body at their best.

4. Pick & Purge with a Purpose: If you’re going to organize your space, you’re going to have to face the hard truth that there are some things that you just have to say goodbye to. Don’t be that leader who’s incapable of getting rid of stuff. So purge with a purpose. Give it away. Remember, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. When you can, choose to get rid of stuff in such a way that advances the kingdom. But don’t use that as an excuse. Sometimes things just need to be pitched and that’s okay! Make it a practice to keep only what you need and get rid of the rest!

EXTRA: Think about those programs that need to be purged as well. Remember, more is not better. Better is better.

5. Delegate & Celebrate: Stop allowing yourself to be overburdened with ministry responsibilities. When possible, give it away. Stop reasoning yourself out of asking that person you know would be great at helping you complete something. We’re all in this together! There is no shame in sharing the ministry load with those around you provided you delegate correctly. Pray for God to reveal to you those people he has sent to help you carry the load. I guarantee you will be so glad you did.

So stop letting clutter and a lack of organization take away your peace. Choose to reclaim your time, space, and energy by becoming the organized leader you were meant to be! It’s time to take control of your life by taking control of the clutter.

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