People that head up children’s ministry in churches are a dedicated bunch.
They genuinely love God and kids.
They are hard working and underpaid, but that doesn’t mean they are perfect.
I see a lot of people that get into children’s ministry for a few years and then bow out.
The vast majority doesn’t last longer than five years.
This is my question for you.
- Do you want to be in kid’s ministry for the long haul?
If you do, here is a list of sins to avoid. It’s what I call The Seven Deadly Sins of KidMin pastors.
1. Isolation – Starting off the list is isolation. One of the challenging things of kid’s ministry is that you are separated from the rest of church. If you find yourself thinking, “Nobody else cares about the kids ministry!” You are dealing with this sin. You can’t carry the load by yourself. The cure for the sin of isolation is to do fewer kids ministry services and start serving in other ministries in the church. It’s counter-intuitive but it’s the only way to deal with it.
2. Narcissism – If truth be told we all deal with this sin, but some of us have it worse than others. The Narcissistic Children’s Pastor needs to be the center of attention. He or she loves kids but they are unwilling to spread the love around. Many times they are talented and really good at what they do, but they either don’t know how to train someone else or they are unwilling to. If you find yourself changing churches every two to three years this may be why. The cure for the sin of narcissism is to start leading from the back of the room where no one can see you.
3. Jealousy – Jealousy can be a killer. It goes something like this. You attend the latest, big conference or visit the local mega church that has a reputation for great kids ministry. The first thing you notice is how much money they have to spend. You want to ask how big their budget is, but you are too embarrassed. You immediately start to think about how much better you would be if you had a lot more money. This in turn leads to anger that’s directed at your pastor and church board. The cure for the sin of jealousy is to forget about it. It’s good to learn from others but stop comparing yourself to other churches. Kids in America don’t need more stuff anyway. Kids need someone who loves them and will be there for them and you can do that for free.
4. Anger – Do you find yourself playing the blame game a lot? It’s hard to be angry and happy and the same time. If you aren’t happy you will end up quitting and if you quit the team gets weaker. The cure for anger is to stop getting angry about things you can’t control. Be proactive. Focus on the things you can control.
5. Self-Neglect – We are all familiar with child neglect but what about self neglect. It’s easy to become a workaholic in ministry because the need is so great. You can get emotionally addicted to the good feeling that comes from helping other people and neglect yourself and those that you love the most. Are you eating right, getting enough sleep and exercising? Do you pray and read the Bible? Do you attend church when you are not serving? If not, you won’t last long. Do you spend dedicated time with your spouse and kids? If not your marriage won’t last. Don’t sacrifice your family for the ministry. It’s not worth it. The cure for self-neglect is to establish healthy boundaries and then follow through. Turn off your smart phone. Go off the grid. Focus dedicated time with those you love the most.
6. Laziness – Laziness and its evil twin, procrastination are huge problems. Some people are workaholics, but others are lazy. Personally I think laziness is a bigger problem today. Are you always waiting until Saturday to prepare for Sunday? Procrastination will negatively impact the quality of your ministry. How much time do you spend in preparation for your sermons or do you just like to wing it? Do you read books? Many times in my mentoring groups I will recommend good books to young leaders. I am shocked at how many will say to me, “I don’t like to read.” If you don’t like to read I’m okay with that, just find another career. Don’t pursue ministry if you are too lazy to read a book. The cure for the sin of laziness is simple – Do the work.
7. Bridge Burning – We all know that arson is a crime, but it’s amazing how many people in ministry get a thrill out of burning bridges. Don’t quit your job if you are mad. Deal with your anger first. Once you make the decision to leave don’t check out. Do everything in your power to make the transition smooth for the next guy. After you leave people will call, text or message you on Facebook and complain about the new guy. Don’t listen to them. The new guy is going to do things different from you, but it’s not your problem. Encourage them to support their church and the new guy. The cure for the sin of bridge burning is to finish strong. Work hard and be nice to all people, especially at the end. You will be glad you did in a year or two.
In the spirit of transparency the reason I know so much about these seven deadly sins is that I have participated in all of them.
If you have done these things in the past, my goal is not to make you feel guilty. Most of us in ministry have failed many times.
The question is not, are you going to fail? You are going to fail. The question is, do you learn from your failures or do you just keep doing them?
My purpose in writing this blog is to help you and me recognize these seven deadly sins and make the necessary adjustments.
It’s to your advantage if you change.
One last thought. Please do not post comments like “Jesus is the only cure for sin.” I agree. The blood of Jesus is the only thing that can wash away our sins.
If you need to confess your sins to the Lord, then do it, but don’t stop there. Go ahead and repent.
In other words, stop doing what you are doing and make the necessary changes so that you sin less in the future.