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I was originally hired on as the Middle School Youth Minister. I enjoyed it tremendously because of the controlled chaos and unpredictability. You do something silly, middle school students will laugh. You do something serious, middle school students will laugh. On top of their maturity level I also enjoyed their honesty. Not afraid to call you out and say what is on their mind.
Two years after I was hired, our pastor asked me to oversee both high school and middle school. I remember feeling a little torn. While I was honored to be given more responsibility I didn’t want to lose focus on the middle school students. A few months before the transition would take place I received some solid advice from a veteran youth worker. He told me to:
LEAD FROM BELOW
His advice was to lead the student ministry with middle school as the priority. By investing in the middle school I would be creating a stronger high school program. And he was right, since then our high school program has grown stronger and larger because of the time energy and resources we’ve poured into the younger teens. However, I feel that as youth ministers we need to go lower and INVEST IN OUR CHILDREN’S MINISTRY as well.
When you invest in the children’s ministry you impact your future students. The best way to invest in your children’s department is by:
Compromising On Your End – Whether it’s the budget or shared space, make sure they get the a slightly larger piece of the pie. Every advantage you can give to them do it because you want them as strong as possible. It might be a sacrifice at first; however, the payoff will be great. When you take the lead on compromising you’ll find that they will make sacrifices in return. It’s about knowing where to give, so that they other side can grow.
Sharing Expectations And Vision – You will receive the fruit to their labor. This means you’ll want young teenagers with a solid foundation. Get to know their vision and then share yours. Then work with them on creating a path to that vision. When a kid transitions into your program it’s essentially the half way point, let them know what you are looking for. The more you are on the same page the better you will be able to work together and transition kids from each stage of life.
Growing Together – Both you and the children’s minister need to learn how to invest in families, partner with parents and raise up disciples. While the age group you serve might be different, you need to be on the same page with strategies and methodologies. Get together and learn together. A few suggestions would be to read Sticky Faith by Kara Powell or go over the Orange Strategy from Reggie Joiner. Learn and grow together so that you can work better together.
Children’s ministry has significant differences from student; however, it’s essential that you work together. Link your vision, mission and values. Make sacrifices for their success. Remember that if your children’s ministry does not succeed it will only make your job harder.
How do you work with your children’s minister? On a scale of 1(low) – 10(high) how good is your relationship with the children’s minister?