Continuing my Benefits of Hindsight series, I would like to suggest seven habits which can create highly insecure and ineffective children’s pastors. In my years of ministry I have witnessed all of them, and I also have been guilty of a few. So, as you read the list and think about the implications, imagine my voice as one of godly fear and trembling, rather than witty sarcasm. In the statements below I refer to the CP, for children’s pastor. However, you may easily put in its place such church positions as volunteer children’s director, teacher’s helper, senior pastor, and so on.
This list is not exhaustive. However, I think the characteristics are fairly common in some form in people who are marching steadily toward self-destruction of their ministry influence.
- Worry: whenever a meeting occurs between the CP’s superiors, he worries that they are talking negatively about him. The same principle holds whenever he sees or hears about any other two persons (child or adult) speaking to each other outside of his range of hearing.
- Manipulation: the CP leverages whatever influence he has to cause others to view his opinions favorably over that of pastoral colleagues or volunteer thought leaders.
- Gossip: the CP uses various tactics (many of them seemingly positive and spiritual) to sabotage the reputations of those he views as competitors within and outside of the church he serves.
- Pride: the CP has persuaded himself he can and must build his ministry on his own through his brand of ingenuity and range of influence.
- Prayerlessness: the CP has become co-dependant with his own delusions of self-reliance, resulting in isolation from God and others. He talks a good talk, but careful probing reveals the underlying spiritual shallowness.
- Relevance: the CP opts for cultural relevance even when it causes others to stumble in their faith, or is outright sinful. After all, being cutting edge is more important than being prophetic (by this I mean being a voice which influences the culture to follow Jesus), yes?
- Maverick: the CP decides he knows better than his senior leadership, board members, and pretty much anyone else who disagrees with him, yet who provide oversight for him. Therefore, he does what he wants, when he wants to do it. True, often mavericks in this sense don’t last very long, unless they are in co-dependant situations where they provide impressive results (lots a people) despite their rebellious attitudes.
Ask yourself: Have you ever exhibited one of these characteristics? How might you correct the behavior and get back your first love of following Jesus and leading kids to do the same?