How To Avoid Kidmin Tunnel Vision

In my previous post, I shared the dangers of Kidmin Tunnel Vision.  This is when you get so laser focused on Kids Ministry that you fail to keep the BIG picture of the WHOLE church in mind.  Today, I want to share how you can avoid falling into this trap!

It’s not enough to sit back and expect your pastor or other staff members to make sure you’re vitally connected with the entire scope of the church’s life.  That’s your responsibility.  Here are some steps you can take to Avoid Kidmin Tunnel Vision:

1)  Read every available piece of information. – Make it a weekly practice to read the bulletin, newsletters, articles on the website, and anything else that tells what the church is doing.

2)  Ask questions. – If you’re unsure about an upcoming event, a strategy, or any other plan, take the initiative to get an answer to your questions.

3)  Watch or listen to the Sunday morning service. – Most churches record the pastor’s sermon each week. If you can’t attend the service (and most of the time you can’t), make it a priority to listen to the message sometime during the week.  It will keep you connected to the pastor and to the heartbeat of the church.

4)  Pay attention in staff meetings. – Shut down Twitter, Facebook, and your web browser.  You are getting the info you need if you will just LISTEN and document it.

5)  Regularly pray for your pastor and other department leaders. – This choice has made a huge difference in my perspective, my attitude, and my relationships with each person on the team.  They’ve told me the greatest challenges they face in their ministries, and I found out their joys and struggles in their families.  My commitment to pray for them has kept me connected and prevented me from becoming focused only on Kids Ministry.

So, don’t hesitate.  Choose NOW to start these five habits.  They will keep you from falling into the trap of Kidmin Tunnel Vision, and you will stay vitally connected to your pastor and entire team.

Do You Suffer From Kidmin “Tunnel Vision?”

I will never forget the Staff Meeting where I confronted my Pastor about why I wasn’t made aware of the big Missions opportunity that the rest of the staff seemed to already know about.  I let him know how upset I was that “those of us who are in Children’s Ministry and aren’t able to be in the Sanctuary on Sundays shouldn’t be kept in the dark.

My pastor kindly asked me, “Brian, did you not read the bulletin the last few weeks?”  I had not.  “Did you read the letter I sent home to every household in our church?”  I did not.  “Have you paid attention in Staff Meeting the last few weeks as we have been talking about it?”  I had not.  I had made the mistake of deciding, “If it isn’t directly related to Kids Ministry, I don’t really need to pay attention to it.”

I made a classic blunder:  “Having Tunnel Vision and Missing The BIG Picture.”

Turns out it wasn’t my pastors fault I didn’t know about the opportunity.  It was my own.

In kids’ ministries, we need to recognize the symptoms of tunnel vision.  If we don’t, we may suffer severe consequences.

Dangers Of Kidmin Tunnel Vision:

1)  We develop a territorial spirit.

2)  We develop a “poor me” mentality

3)  We infect the rest of our Kidmin team.

4)  We fail to support (and may even compete with) the pastor’s vision.

5)  We fail to communicate key information to parents and team members.

Tunnel vision isn’t just an inconvenience.  It’s an acid that eats away at everything good, right, noble, and pure in a leader’s heart, a team’s life, and a ministry’s impact.  Want to beat it?  Want to avoid Kidmin Tunnel Vision?  Next week, I will share “How To Avoid Tunnel Vision.”

Question EVERYTHING!

Effective leaders are constantly questioning the status quo.  They don’t settle for “what’s always been done.”  They never say, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”  They are constantly questioning methods, practices, and strategies to ensure they are taking the best possible approach.

If you are going to be an effective leader, be willing to question EVERYTHING in your ministry – even the things that you think are going wonderfully!  You say, “Wait!  I thought I was supposed to live by the motto ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!’”  Here’s the problem with that.  In ministry, oftentimes something has been broke long before we ever get the memo.  If you don’t have a habit of questioning the methods and strategies in your ministry, you may be so oblivious that something may be broke and you’re convinced it’s never been better.

Last year, I began to truly poke and prod and question the effectiveness of our Sunday Morning Kids experience.  Now, understand, we’ve never had more kids attending than we do now.  We have Kids Pastors from all over the country travel to our church to see and learn what we are doing.  If I went by those indicators alone, I never would have questioned anything we were doing.

But, I began to question and evaluate – and without going into all the details I came to the conclusion that our Sunday Morning Experience was broke.  Everyone else was convinced that it had never been better, but I knew it needed an overhaul.  So, I put together a team of strategists and thinkers to help me redesign everything from the ground up.  Recently, we launched our new approach – and it ROCKED!

If I hadn’t been willing to question, I would never have gotten the ministry to that place.  This experience underscored something for me:  Question EVERYTHING!

Too often, we don’t question or evaluate because we are afraid of what we will find.  We don’t want to face the fact that it might be time for an overhaul.  Don’t allow yourself to do this!  QUESTION EVERYTHING!