Children’s Pastor or Leader of Leaders?

So what do you do? Are you a Children’s Pastor, Pastor to Children, Family Pastor, Director of Children’s and Family Ministry?

I have never been one to get hung up on a title, but I am a Children’s Pastor. I pastor children. I have noticed what seems to be a growing trend on many blogs about what a children’s pastor does exactly? Does a children’s pastor lead leaders and not teach children? Does a children’s pastor teach children as their main focus? Have a Confused you yet? Yes? Good that was my intention to make this first part a bunch of rambling statements. LOL!

My intent here is to start a dialogue that I’ve had with several others who serve in Children’s ministry. I have wondered aloud, what is happening to the “Children’s Pastor?” Have we become a bunch of “leader of leaders” that we don’t DO minister directly to children anymore? I understand that as the church grows it does seem more necessary for a person to shift roles from teaching children to leading leaders but is it possible to be successful doing both? Can you minister to children and still lead leaders?

It is a struggle for me when I go to conferences to listen to people talk about children’s ministry and growing ministries when only to find out that they who are speaking don’t actually do the ministry they just tell others how to do it. When your serving in a smaller church you must do both, at least that is my experience. I have spent many years in churches 500 or less and as a Children’s Pastor I would not only teach children myself, but I would train others do what I do. To me, that was my recipe for success. It won over parents who saw me loving and teaching the children the Word of God. It won my volunteers over as they saw me loving and teaching the children the Word of God. As I modeled how to do this before the parents and volunteers they learned how to do it for themselves.

If I had chosen just to “lead leaders” by being an administrator alone, they would not see and experience the things they need to grow and develop themselves as ministers to children. I firmly believe you can’t teach what you don’t do!

I see a trend that scares me and that I think will change again. Many churches went out to search and hire a Leader for children’s ministry. They found a person who is “high-capacity” and who is a major organizer but where they are weak is teaching children. They struggle with relating to parents and they can only tell others what to do, and when to do it.

I’ve been working with a couple of churches who have changed their search, they are now looking for someone who can minister to children and their parents and lead leaders in a balanced way. I want to be a balanced leader. I want to lead my team and help them move to a higher level of ministry. To reach children that I cannot. I want to help my team to come along side the parents and families who bring their children to our ministries. But I also want to share Jesus with children. I want them to know I AM THEIR PASTOR! I don’t just lead leaders, I lead children! I AM A CHILDREN’S PASTOR

So, My questions to start a fun dialogue, What is a Children’s Pastor? What are his/her duties? Priorities? Function? Can a Kids Pastor minister directly to children and be a leader or leaders or should we limit ourselves to more administrative than ministry?

 

What say YOU??

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2 thoughts on “Children’s Pastor or Leader of Leaders?”

  1. I would agree that many churches are not looking for people to pastor children (i.e. a children’s pastor), but rather a Director of Children’s Ministry… someone to organize and lead those who run the programs for children in the church.

    As we’ve talked about, at the conferences I’ve been at, they seldom have people “in the trenches” ministering to children. They are often leading staff who reach children. While there is merit to that, I’d love to see someone like yourself, as well as a bi-vocational and a volunteer children’s pastor/leader at conferences sharing what it is like in “smaller” churches. If 85% of churches are small, then why isn’t there a greater effort to reach them and minister to them in the larger, national conferences by having someone who can relate to the scenario in their church?

    1. Bill,
      Thanks for the feedback. I certainly agree with you that it would be great for a conference to take time to include some speakers who are not in mega-churches. I also agree that statistically, the majority of those in attendance at conferences are not from those mega churches and they deserve to hear like minded ministry people share as well. Just because one pastors in a large church doesn’t make them an expert. I’ve see some who have been in ministry for 5 years or less brought up on stage to speak and to me they don’t have the experience and credibility to be on stage. This doesn’t mean they don’t have a voice, but Biblical principles suggest that a novice is the one who should be front and center.
      I just wonder, if and when this will change? As I move into a larger church, I’m excited to bring a balanced approach to the leadership where I will shepherd children but I will lead my team at the same time. I trust God with the results and even if I’m never asked to speak at a conference, I know what I and many others do every week will not go unnoticed. Ultimately I don’t think either title is wrong. Each of us in ministry must lead in the context we are called to.