It’s OK to Give Up in Children’s Ministry

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Here is a challenging message from Kidology Coach, Todd McKeever, about transitioning to a new ministry. Some of his tips can be easily applied to help you in your existing ministry as well.

It is amazing, and yet very sad, when you can watch a children’s pastor move from one ministry to another children’s ministry and they sink terribly at the new one.

As many of you know I have moved from my last church to my new one here in Des Moines, Iowa, as the Family Life Pastor for First Church of the Open Bible. Making this move from my last to my new has caused me to look at my ways, systems, processes, and is challenging me to also “Let Go” of some great things that I would have used at my last church and to pick up some new ways for my new church.

This is what has me thinking through the terrible mistakes many children’s pastors will make as they, too, make their new moves into a new ministry. I have never seen where the children’s pastor wasn’t knowledgeable enough to succeed or could have learned to do the new; it was they didn’t want to “Let Go” of the old and comfortable for the new, exciting, and challenging.

To avoid this you need to learn about your new place of ministry. What are the things you need to know? Being an efficient and effective learner will reduce your window of vulnerability to loss. Here are a few things I am personally spending time on:

Before I even arrived:
* Read up and asked questions of my network about this church and the team members who are here.
* Spent tons of time talking with my new Senior Pastor
* I created a list of questions that help guide my learning once I got here.

Right after I arrived:
* Met with my direct reports, and we settled on how we would communicate.
* I listened and arrange myself to be in places where I could here volunteers talk. They would all bring their own perspective to what each of the problems and strengths were here.
* I would also, in this step, re-do my questions–some as I was able to target them more specifically because I was armed with more knowledge.
* Always kept my senior pastor in the know of what I was thinking. In this piece I started to learn of things I had to let go of to pick up some new stuff.

After being there for a bit:
* Met with key parents and got their ideas and feedback
* Met with the kids and got their ideas and feedback
* Talked with the community people and asked what they knew or thought of my new church
* Met with area children’s pastors
* I would also, in this step, re-do my questions–some as I was able to target them more specifically because I was armed with more knowledge.

I find for me that if I spend the right time asking the questions I will soon discover I need to let go of some old tried and true things that are comfortable, and pick up some new and unknown ways to help the ministry God has blessed me to be part of. If you don’t, the result is never good.

Pastor Todd McKeever is the Family Life Pastor at First Church of the Open Bible, Des Moines, IA. You can find out more about him at http://www.toddmckeever.com or follow him on twitter @tmckeever. Or you can request him as your ministry coach from Kidology.org coaches page at http://www.kidology.org/page.asp?i=242

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