Kids Ministry Philosophy

changes in philosophy


“What has been the biggest change in your Kids Ministry philosophy in the past 20 years?” – submitted by Jon Warneke of Polson, MT

It’s hard to believe I am even qualified to answer this question, since to do so means I would have actually had to BE IN Kids Ministry for nearly 20 years.  It’s true though – I am officially an OLD MAN!

I began my Kids Ministry life in 1992 as a sophomore in College serving at a local church.  I had NO idea what I was doing when it came to leading kids on their spiritual journey.  I started leading Kids Church with just a couple of volunteers.  I grew up putting on shows, acting, performing, etc.  I knew how to draw a crowd, so the entire Kids Ministry pretty well consisted of…ME doing MY thing.

It’s one of my biggest regrets.  I was having a great time.  I enjoyed singing, acting, teaching, and praying with the kids.  The problem is I spent a great deal of time running the Kid’s Ministry as a “one man show.”  I wondered why I couldn’t get people to volunteer in Kids Church.  It was because when they came, I never trained them and never let them flourish.

Sadly, I allowed my Children’s Ministry to become “personality-driven” instead of TEAM-driven.  Why did I do that?  Because I was convinced it was easier to just do it myself than to try to train someone else to do it.  And, that is true – in the short-term.  It takes a lot of work and commitment to train and build a team that is effective.  Sadly, my first decade of Kids Ministry wasn’t half of what it could have been if I had learned this lesson earlier.

Don’t try to do it alone.  There are many individuals that God is calling to work with kids in your church.  You have to pray for God to call them, receive them when they answer the call, and train them so they can be effective in that ministry.

Ten years ago, you could have walked into my Children’s Church service and I was on stage nearly the entire time.  Now, on any given week I’m on stage no more than 15% of the time, and many weeks I am NEVER on stage.

If you are trying to do the work of the ministry alone – shame on you.  Jesus needed a team to accomplish His goal, what makes you better than Him?  You are depriving people of the opportunity to serve out their God-given assignment to minister to the kids in your church and community.  Don’t be a superstar – build a team!

P.S.  Congratulations to Joseph Mater, the winner of our $200 drawing for my first post!

8 thoughts on “Kids Ministry Philosophy

  1. I can really relate to what you are saying. It is so much easier to do it yourself …. but then you’re always doing it yourself and wonder why you get so burned out. I need to really take these words to heart and do it. I have trained people and then they move on to college, etc. and I’m starting over again — I need to stop being a one-man show and really focus on the team approach. Thanks, Brian. I needed to hear this today.

  2. I have always wanted a team to serve with me in all areas of children’s ministry. Part of the reason i haven’t had a team to date is my fault. I had to be a one man show…maybe to feed my own ego…maybe to fill the children’s church void i had from not growing up in church. Who knows? But i learned quickly that a 1 to 100 ratio was not good. I have also never been allowed the freedom to recruit and train a team of leaders for children’s church.

    I now have a team that i am working with each week in children’s church. This past weekend marked the first Sunday that my team of leaders, both teen and adult, led various parts of the service. I was on the stage less than 50% of the time and it felt great. I had a follow up meeting with my team last night to recap our first morning. The added benefit that a team approach offers is this – their energy and excitement after being a contributing member of a team can be nothing but extremely contagious. I will bet that within a few months I double my kids church team!

    Leading a team that wants to be led is awesome! I am so proud of them and it is fantastic to be on this journey together. Thanks Brian for your advice and encouragment!

  3. Thank you for your post. I can say that every children’s pastor needs to know this before they get started. I am just glad it is never too late to start.

  4. So Brian, for those of us who are working to get out of the death spiral of doing it ourselves instead of developing a team, what tips would you give as to HOW to navigate that.


    • Hey Jeff! Check out the posts I did called “Recruiting Volunteers”. There’s several parts. I think you will find that helpful. Plus, check out the chapter in my book called “Hi Ho Silver”, it’s all about making the shift from Lone Ranger to Team Builder!

  5. This is good stuff! Thanks for sharing Brian. This past year I’ve been up front less and less. I’ve been focusing on training the Children’s Church Team. We have Team Leaders that do the majority of the lessons now. I’m still looking into how to mentor them more and help them train the others other their respective teams.

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