As a children’s ministry leader, you spend countless hours slaving away on details for your audience of eight year-olds. Most of whom will rarely express appreciation for all you’ve done. You plan and plan and plan for an hour and a half’s worth of programming for attention spans that last no longer than three minutes (on a good day). And you send email after email, make phone call after phone call working to line up volunteers to come and join you in this organized chaos.
Most days, you know it’s worth it.
But then there are those times where you’re just not sure.
Let me assure you of one thing: what you do matters. And it matters greatly.
While you may go weeks without receiving an encouraging word, months without a break, and years without a pay raise (heck, if you even get paid in the first place!), every ounce of effort and minute of time you put in matters. It’s just that sometimes we parents aren’t that good at expressing our appreciation.
So, on behalf of the parents of all those little kiddos in your rooms each week, let me share six things I appreciate about my kidmin staff – and I appreciate about all of you in ministry.
1. They know my kids.
We go to a church that has well over a hundred kids running through the halls any given weekend. And yet the staff and volunteers know my kids. They greet them by name. They are happy to see them. I love this! Knowing my kids’ names shows that our staff are invested in their ministry. Also, my kids know we are invested in these leaders pouring into them over the years.
2. They’re committed to introducing Jesus to them.
Our leaders don’t just know kids for the sake of being friendly. They know our kids because they want our kids to know Jesus. Every week isn’t just about activities and fun…it’s about pointing to the One who made this all possible. It’s not just about cute Bible stories for the sake of something to talk about…it’s about knowing that each story points to our Redeemer and King and helping kids see that.
3. They want my kids to love being at church.
Church should not be boring. The closer we get to the Creator, the more creative we should be. And our ministry staff and leaders live this out! Pulling out all the stops doesn’t have to cost the collective GDP of a small country or have as much lights and steel as the local amusement park; it means looking around and doing whatever you can to make sure the environment is warm and welcoming, the activities are actually enjoyable for the kids that are there, and – most importantly – the people love the kids who are there.
4. They’re concerned for safety and security.
There is much to despair about the day and age in which we live. I wish we didn’t need check-in systems, locked doors, and security monitors throughout the place. But it’s 2014 and we do. My wife and I have been at our church since three months after the doors opened. We’ve served on a ton of volunteer teams. I’m currently an elder. We are trusted and known to staff and volunteers alike. But we still have to follow all security protocol and verify ID before leaving with our kids. This doesn’t bother me. I actually like it, because I know that safety and security are of utmost importance.
5. They’re committed to our family.
What are our leaders committed to?
Jesus? Yes. A great program? Yes. Safety? Yes. Through all of that, they are committed to our family. To giving us the tools to raise our kids to know Jesus, to helping ensure we are healthy in every sense, and to know that we as parents are cared for in addition to our kids.
6. They’re ours.
I absolutely love our church. No question about it. Are there things I would do differently sometimes? Of course. Are there things that seem quirky? Of course. But through it all, I love the fact that this is our church, these are our brothers and sisters, and the spirit of love that flows through everything makes this place home.
As a ministry leader, if it’s been awhile since you’ve heard some affirming words, I’m sorry.
I hope you read these words and take them to heart. You are loved! You know we parents are up to our eyeballs in homework, chicken nuggets, spilled milk, dirty diapers, and boogers (not necessarily in that order); and we don’t often make the time or are even thinking straight enough to say thanks.
So on behalf of all the tired-eyed parents stumbling through your halls on a Sunday morning – thank you.