Many children’s pastors have experienced the feeling of being on an island at their church. You’ve probably heard the song “One Is The Loneliest Number” by Three Dog Night. In movies, it is usually played as the main character walks in the rain and gets drenched with water from a car flying down the road. Sometimes as children’s pastors we feel like that main character; we’re standing by the side of the road, water streaming down our face, as the people whiz by to go to the worship center, and nobody stops to help.
So the question is, how do we fight off these feelings of being on an island?
There are three things that I have found invaluable as a children’s pastor that have helped me avoid getting isolated.
1. Don’t Play The Victim Card
The victim card usually comes into play when it comes to staffing needs in children’s ministry. Staffing is a constant battle and can be tiresome, first to find a qualified team member, and then to get them trained. It seems like one step forward and two steps back. Many times I have just gotten a worker added to the rotation and someone leaves.
It is easy to look at other areas brimming with people and get upset. That is why it is vitally important not to play the victim card. It is always easier to complain and talk about how understaffed the children’s ministry instead of doing what we should do, which is get out the classroom and start meeting potential volunteers. I can hear you saying, “But Lance, I am ALWAYS in the classroom.”
Here are a few quick ways to meet potential volunteers when you spend most of the time in the classroom:
● Meet people during check in/pick up to your classroom.
● Ask staff members and team members if they have any leads on potential volunteers.
● Take potential volunteers out to coffee during the week.
● Pray and ask God to send people your way who have a heart for children.
The victim card is one of the quickest ways in ministry to isolate and get stuck on an island, so shut down the negative thoughts as soon as they come!
2. Be Flexible
Flexibility is important because things do not always go according to plan and this rings true in children’s ministry. If there is a situation and special event that is happening and we aren’t flexible, it can distance our fellow staff members from asking for our help in the future and possibly have an effect on our relationships with them.
I’m not saying that in order to be flexible as children’s pastors we have to say yes to everything; however, I am saying we have got to be willing to bend and get out of our comfort zone. Think of how it CAN work before you voice why it CAN’T.
3. Team Player
Everyone likes to be a part of a team and feel included; therefore, it is important to be a team player. An easy way to be a team player is help your fellow staff members, whether it is a big project, service, or event. It is hard to feel like you are on an island when you are looking for opportunities to help your fellow staff members.
Being part of a project outside of your particular area of ministry exposes you to people you otherwise may not get to meet, and let’s leaders and staff members know that you are rooting for them. Remember that when a fellow team player wins, everyone wins.
I pray this encouraged you and if you’re on an island, start making steps to move to the main land today.
What are some ways you fight off the feeling of being on an island?