One of the most challenging things in any church regardless the size is finding dedicated leaders who love kids. When churches first begin, a handful of servant-hearted believers will serve in any capacity. Unless a children’s pastor is helping you plant your church, most likely someone raised their hand to run your kids program.
Praise God for committed volunteers! Every church needs those who are willing to do whatever it takes to make your church plant grow. And every children’s ministry needs a strong leader, or maybe even two, to organize and perpetuate that ministry forward with the growth of the church plant.
Ideally, and prayerfully, a strong leader with a vision that aligns with the whole church will ultimately partner with church leadership to develop and implement a successful children’s ministry. However, in the early stages of church building, it isn’t always easy to find a single person to take on the weight of such an important ministry, especially without a full-time paycheck to offer.
There are creative ways to accomplish the work of one with excellence and commitment to growing kids in their relationship with Jesus. First, pray. Then, find at least two people who enjoy kids and are willing to serve on Sunday mornings. Enlist the teenagers and pair one or two of them with each of your adults to create two teams that can create alternating serving schedules. This will ensure that everyone gets a chance to attend services.
Search for other adults or teenagers who are willing to do the administrative part of ministry. Some people may not be comfortable serving on Sundays but would be happy to pull together lessons, cut out crafts or find worship music. You could find two or three people willing to take different tasks. Either way, the load is lessened and you protect your Sunday morning volunteers from being over extended. A small warning though: too many hands in the process could cause more chaos than necessary.
As you find the right people to accomplish the right tasks, remember to value the integrity of the ministry. Find volunteers who have a genuine love for Jesus, are willing to work together as a team, and stay focused on the overall values and vision of the ministry. While you are putting the team together, you as the pastor or church planter may have to keep your volunteers motivated. You are more likely retain your volunteers for the long haul if they feel like they are contributing and when the expectations for them have a sense of organization.
With a small church in it’s humble beginnings, you have the freedom to empower different leaders in different capacities without major commitments. Don’t be afraid to make the ask. Empowering a team of leaders to take ownership of the ministry will create a contagious energy. As more people experience the importance of children’s ministry, the more opportunity God has to ignite a passion in that one leader you are searching for.