Pastoral changes are hard on everyone, especially the kids. Imagine how you would feel if you were seven and the only pastor you have ever known decided to leave the church. Whether the parting of ways is truly a God thing or something else, it can diminish a child’s concept of stability–and quiet possibly even his or her ideas about God. I know that sounds extreme but never underestimate the mind of a child! Fortunately, the kids have you to lead them through pastoral changes! While you may not have all the answers, you can guide kids through the transition. I’ve done it–you can too! Here are a few tips that will help you achieve this more effectively.
Set the example. Show grace. Want to know how kids will respond to a pastoral change? The truth is they will mimic the behavior of their parents and their children’s ministry leaders. Have a positive outlook, no matter the reasons. Show grace to the pastor who’s leaving and for the one who’s coming in. Encourage kids to give the new pastor a chance to lead. Like they say, you can either be the thermometer or the thermostat. Be the thermostat!
Be excited! Keep kids focused on what you’re doing in children’s ministry. Remind them of the next festival, the next VBS, the next theme. By doing this, you’re showing children that life goes on, ministry goes on too. God is still working at your church.
Limit other changes. It might not be a good idea to make big changes to your volunteer roster or even to your room during a pastoral change. Put the big room makeover on hold until the transition is over. The less change the better during this process.
Invite the new pastor to children’s church or Sunday School. Give him a chance to show his playful side. Introduce him to the class and let him sample what ministry is like in your room. Teach kids from the beginning to respect and honor the new pastor.
Remember–you set the atmosphere! Stop negative talk when you can and always lead the kids forward! You can do it!
Visit Mimi’s blog at Tools for Kids Church.
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