I remember the first time I met a Children’s Pastor.
It was October of 1978. I was attending Rhema Bible College in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
One of my classes was entitled, Ministering To Children and was taught by Willie George, a children’s pastor at a local church in Tulsa.
Today, Willie George is the Founding and Teaching Pastor at Church On The Move – one of the largest churches in the country, but in 1978 Willie was just getting started in ministry.
I had no intention of ministering to kids, but this became my favorite class. I looked forward to it every day.
I’m not sure at what point I felt called to pastor kids. I just knew that I needed to learn everything I could from this man – Willie George.
One day after class I approached Pastor Willie and said, “I’d like to get involved with your children’s ministry.”
“What age group do you want to work with?” Willie asked.
“First grade or older,” I said. (The truth is I didn’t want to change diapers and wasn’t really sure at what age the diaper changing stopped.)
“I’d like you to come watch me minister in children’s church for four weeks and then I will assign you to a class.”
After the four weeks was up Willie said to me, “Mark, I want you to help Jeanne in the Preschool class at the 11:00 am service.”
I started helping Jeanne at the 11:00 am service, but I missed watching Pastor Willie.
After several weeks of teaching in the preschool I felt impressed to go watch Willie minister to the elementary kids at the 9:00 AM service. Instead of going to the main service at the 9:00 am, I went to children’s church and watched Pastor Willie.
One day during some volunteer training, Pastor Willie looked at me and said, “You are a wise man, Mark Harper.”
I never really thought about it like that, but now I’ve come to see the wisdom – just watching Pastor Willie minister to kids for one year, built the foundation for my ministry.
Willie was teaching kids, but he was mentoring me at the same time.
The best advice I can give you to is find a mentor. Find somebody that is doing it well and watch him or her. You usually need to seek them out. (It’s rare that mentors find you.)
My question for you is, Who is your mentor?
If you don’t have a mentor, I’d like to interview for the job of mentoring you in kids ministry. Mentoring is the total focus of my ministry right now.
My pastor at Emmanuel Christian Center hired me, not to be the kids pastor, but to mentor young kids pastors and I’m having the time of my life.
Have I piqued your interest?
If so, I have an exciting ministry to tell you about – Emmanuel Leadership Academy.
There are two amazing things about Emmanuel Leadership Academy.
1) It’s Affordable Accredited Education – Southeastern University partners with Emmanuel Christian Center to host an instructional site on the church campus and offer students affordable degree programs.
2) It’s Real life experience and mentoring.
At ELA, for those of you that feel called to Kids Ministry – I get to be your mentor.
What excites me the most is how similar ELA is to my experience as a young leader. I learned doctrine and theology at Rhema Bible College and I was personally mentored by Willie George. Those two experiences built the bedrock for my ministry that’s lasted for 40 years. (This year I celebrate 40 years in ministry.)
For more information about ELA: CLICK HERE
I’m hoping you sign up.
Feel free to send me an email if you have questions about the mentoring side of things. MarkHarper@Emmanuelcc.org
Not only has Mark served in the local church as pastor, associate pastor, and family ministry pastor but he is also a certified coach with the John Maxwell Team.