Fight for a Seat at the Table / by John Hailes

There are some Churches who have a rich history of children’s and family ministry being the center of the Church. When I think of a public church like this, I think of churches like, Church on the Move. There are many churches whose Pastor just gets the vision and knows just how vital these ministries are to the success of the Church.

Some churches even structure everything around those ministries. These children’s pastors are naturally given a seat at the table….but what if your not from one of those churches?

Our lead pastor is working hard to make our church one of those Churches…this year he invested a lot of money into a renovation of our Elementary facilities…We decked it out with a top of the line large group area and small group breakouts. The purpose was to create a learning environment where kids could engage with God and have fun. We wanted to show our Church that our kids learn and not just play.

The other night, I was disappointed to hear a conversation between some people in the church. They were giving directions to the kitchen and one of them said…’just go through the play area’…it took me a while to realize they were talking about my Elementary auditorium…which contains no play area!

Its hard to change attitudes. We reach people from many different cultural and social backgrounds…many who don’t typically value children’s or family ministry BUT that just means we have to fight for a place at the table!

Here are some ways to fight for your seat….

1.    Share your WINS

After a year on staff I sent my Pastor a list of our ministry ‘wins’. They weren’t centered around fun but our spiritual and leadership development. In staff meetings, share stories of kids that have been changed. Put up pictures on facebook of alter times and kids praying during service. Post videos of kids doing worship. Share your stories with individuals you see in Church. Good News travels fast…but someone has to share it first!!!

2.    Create a Learning environment

Show Parent’s and families that this is a ministry to be valued. Pride yourself in clean and nicely up kept facilities. If you think that children’s can ‘make do’ with terrible facilities then there is no way your parents or church will value your ministry.

3.    Let Parents see kids Church in Action

One of my first changes as children’s pastor was to close our service with Worship instead of free playtime. We were in a big open gym with no stage or clear service space. When parents turned up to collect their kids there was chaos as kids ran around playing. When I made the change parents picked up their kids during our closing worship! Rather than dragging their kids out, they waited and watched!

4.    Send teaching/follow up home with Parents

Most parents will only glance at it and never really read it…but it sets a tone and shows them that their kids are being taught!

 

What are some things your children’s ministry have done to fight for a seat at the table?