Someone recently asked me ” How did you stay so relevant in Children’s Ministry for over 15 years?” and got me thinking so I have compiled a list:
10 ways to never grow up and think like a kid so that you can stay a relevant Kidmin.
1. Learn Patience!
2. Window shop at Toys-R-Us monthly.
3. Watch cartoons.
4. Have kids of your own
5. Pull out your old GiJoes, Barbies, Transformers, Baseball cards and Pogs just to “reminisce your childhood”
6. Color with crayons and/or paint with your fingers.
7. Watch Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Awards Show in March
8. Play video games that are popular with the kids (Minecraft, Angry Birds, Just Dance etc…)
9. Explore go on hikes to discover new things.
10. The most important one of all: Get involved in kid’s lives and learn to ask.
Up until a few years ago I did ministry differently. I blogged, posted on social media, networked with children’s directors and pastors from all over the globe But I did it to make a name for myself. I wanted to be “popular” I wanted to have a lot of followers on Twitter, I wanted to speak at conferences. I was doing “new” “smart” and “creative” things and I felt like I needed to share it with the world. I even had countless others tell me “You should sell your ideas, sell your curriculum or better yet write a book” Why? Because at the end of the day they got that idea from Ben Fowlkes and I wanted to be heard. I wanted to be “popular” in the internet world of Children’s Ministers.
I WAS SO WRONG!
The longer I have been in ministry the more it became obvious what my attitude should be. I started receiving encouraging letters from parents and thank you cards from kids But in that same year I received a Facebook message from a kid that was in my Children’s Ministry when I first started ministry. He was graduating High School and found me on Facebook just to tell me thank you.
“Thank you Ben for teaching me about Jesus back when I was at CrossCreek. It was because you made learning about who Jesus is fun and exciting that I have chosen to make Him a part of my life. I am currently looking to go into ministry and work with children as well so that I can help others make Jesus an important part of the rest of their life.”
I may not have been “making a name” for myself in the internet world BUT I was making a difference in the lives of kids. I needed to put God above myself and I quickly realized that it’s not for me or about me it is about Him and growing His Kingdom and glorifying Him. I quickly changed my view on ministry and being “popular” and I do children’s ministry to make a difference. The lives of these kids depend on us and in everything that I do I need to be INTENTIONAL, CREATIVE, NEW, SMART and EXCITING because I am making positive memories that will help shape a child’s life.
I know most of you that serve in children’s ministry desire to make the weekend the best part of the child’s week. We do that by providing relevant and Biblical lessons, providing exciting games both on stage and/or in the small groups and creating super cool Disney style environments for kids of all ages. But one thing that a lot of us miss is personal interaction. As Children’s Directors / Pastors we get so wrapped up sometimes on making sure the volunteers show up or that the items needed are where they are supposed to be that we fail to make the most of what is right in front of us: A CHILD.
I encourage our team and my staff to never let a child pass you by without taking a second to say hello, give them a five, pat them on the head or the ever faithful fist bump. These kids look forward to Sunday, they look forward to seeing their friends, their teachers and their leader – YOU. Showing attention not only gives the kids a great feeling about church but the parents gain a trust in you as the leader because they see that you really do care.