4 Qualities Every Kids Minister Ought to Have

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I was speaking earlier this week to a children’s pastor (who shall remain nameless for purposes of job security) who was talking about the problem of having a senior pastor who is boring and the impact that will have on the church.  That conversation got me thinking about some fundamental characteristics that anyone working in children’s ministry should possess.  Now, before we jump in, I just want to clarify one thing for the record – I am not one of those “all items on a list must start with the same letter” kind of people.  I cringe when pastors (and other speakers) stretch or use obscure words to make an item fit their list alliterations.  In this case, however, it just worked out that way.  So, without further ado, here are four P’s that anyone involved in children’s ministry must possess (additional “P” intended):
Passion is a must.  Children’s ministry workers must be people of passion.  We have to be passionate about God.  We minister out of the overflow in our own spiritual lives, and in order to have overflow to minister out of, we must be passionate about developing our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  We must be passionate about the Bible.  Next to leading a child into a relationship with Christ, the next most powerful thing we can give them and instill in them is a biblical worldview by which to live their lives.  We must be passionate about finding ways to convey the wisdom and power and guidance and excitement found in God’s Word to kids.  Finally it goes without saying that we must be passionate about kids.  We must yearn for their salvation and labor for their spiritual health.
Patience is another prerequisite for children’s ministry.  No matter how much you love kids, no matter how good you are with them, at some point they will drive you nuts.  Whether it’s all of them together or that one “special” kid who really has a way a grating on you, at some point you will be tempted to blow your top.  It is at precisely that point when patience is most critical.  It’s easy to be patient when everything is going along smoothly, but when the seas get rough it is important that you have a reserve of patience to call upon.  There are things you can do to develop your patience, but in the end it is much more a gift of God than anything else.
The third “P” is Perseverance.  Children’s ministry is hard.  Many people would suggest that it is actually the hardest ministry in the church.  No matter how much you love it, there will come a time when you start to wonder whether it’s really all worth it.  So much of what we do in children’s ministry is an investment in the future and we don’t get to see the immediate result.  That makes it easy to become discouraged.  In those times, we must remember that God has a plan for each and every child that we serve.  He calls us to persevere in investing in their lives and teaching them about him.  As for when that harvest will be reaped, and by who, that is in God’s hand.  Fight against discouragement in your ministry and resolve, with God’s help, to persevere through both the good times and bad.
Our fourth, and final, “P” is Personality.  When I was talking to my acquaintance about having a boring pastor, he reflected on what it must be like to visitors to walk into a service and find that half the congregation is asleep.  I am certain that he was exaggerating, but the point is valid.  Even adults in our society today are drawn towards the exciting and entertaining.  They live under the expectation that they will be entertained.  It may not be right, but it is true.  How much more then will kids be turned off by a boring teacher?  How will kids in a small group react to an adult with slightly less personality than a log?  Kids are very perceptive and they react best to those things which they like and enjoy.  As a children’s ministry worker, you will find that a good and lively personality will go a long way in developing your relationship with the kids in your ministry.
There you have it – the four P’s of children’s ministry and none of them had to do with an accident in the toddler room!  Now, I’m off to work on my Q list – are any of you out there quartodecimanists?

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