Raising & Releasing the Next Generation! / by John Hailes

A Messy Way to do Ministry

I fight a constant battle in our kids ministry. A fight between being a ministry that looks good and shows excellence or being a ministry that develops people and disciples kids.

I personally got over the need to create a ‘perfect’ ministry but it’s a pressure that I feel others don’t always understand. Ministry is messy. Anything with kids, and for that matter people, in my mind shouldn’t be too neat and tidy.

This fight can be seen through most of my kids ministry but I want to focus on how it pertains to my leaders.

I’m a big believer in raising up the next generation. If you know me, then you understand that my heart is very much to include teenagers in kids ministry! I myself am the product of Pastors who gave me opportunities to speak at an early age. I was encouraged to speak in our kids ministry also in my teenage years! Not only was my passion for kids birthed through these early experiences but many ministry skills were developed in me.

Looking back at the times I spoke in my Church as a teen I can barely believe they allowed me to be on the stage. It wasn’t uncommon for me to spend more time making jokes than I would teach scripture. My preaching was sloppy, unclear and there was almost no depth. Not to mention the fact that I ran out of things to say after 10 minutes. From many people’s perception it may have been a waste to give me an opportunity but it did so much to develop my ability, skills and calling.

When we include teenagers in our ministry its messy. Sometimes putting them on the stage is even cringe worthy. However, its so unbelievably necessary for our ministries and the future of kidmin…

Here are 4 reasons we need to Raise & Release the Next Generation….

1.      We need more Kidmin!

I feel like so many Bible colleges are full of young people who want to do youth ministry but so few have a passion for kidmin. I think if teenagers were asked to serve in kidmin and they were empowered and taught to minister from the stage they would develop a heart for kid ministry. We need to put more time into developing the next generation!

2.      Teenagers Relate to Kids Best!

It’s messy to include teenagers but I often remind my team that they relate to kids WAY better than anyone else! Of course I need adults in my ministry, but I want them to primarily invest into our younger volunteers, so our teenagers can spend their time investing in our kids. Teenagers will also do the crazy things that my adults would often never do; like taking a cupcake to the face or being slimed! They work hard, but to my kids they are cool and that might be something I can never be :P

3.      Kids need examples of their next step!

I’m a big believer in this! We all need people in our lives who are one or two steps ahead. I want my kids to have teenagers in their life who are serving God and living in the right way. Of course they won’t be perfect and they will mess up, but it’s important to have people to look up to.

4.      We can’t do this forever!

This is hard to admit. We all love the stories of the 90 year old kidmin leader and maybe one day that will be you. However, even they have to hand on the batten one day. We live in the present so often but we need to think of the future. So many kidmin ruin their legacy because they don’t invest in the next generation. Will your ministry thrive or barely survive if you had to leave? Would you have people to pass it on to? Are you developing young people who acknowledge the call of God on their lives to ministry to kids?

Every Sunday I pick up three teenagers at 6:30am who give their entire Sunday morning until 1:30pm to serve the kid ministry. They may not go on to be kidmin but they are growing in their faith and developing a heart for kids that will stick with them for a lifetime.