Just imagine with me if there was a way to intentionally train up future leaders in Children’s Ministry FOR Children’s Ministry. I’m talking preparing the next generation of professional Christian educators while they are still kids. As I post multiple job openings for churches of all sizes all over North Georgia seeking amazing candidates to serve as the lead in ministry with children, I struggle with the lack of intentionality to coach young students to answer those calls…even for a season.
So this is what I’m thinking….
Right now our local church provides training for a team of Ambassadors to serve as leaders in the ministry they’re in. They set up, take down, clean up, provide tech support, greet, acolyte, encourage, and take on the beginnings of serving with intentionality in their home church in 4th & 5th grade. When they age out of our program upon entering 6th grade, I’m so grateful they are not expected to walk away from the Children’s Ministry in my local church. This is a rarity and I know it. I prayed for it.
At 6th grade through middle school, these students can return to be trained to serve in deeper and greater roles such as small group leaders, station leaders at special events, set up & take down for special events, provide tech support on a larger scale, write notes, serve as Cherub Choir leaders, take photos, and decorate. I recall a middle schooler who provided decorating support for VBS sharing, “I had no idea it took this much work to pull this off. I really thought y’all just pulled stuff out of a closet and it just happened.” There would be coaching all along the way as they interacted with students and parents, learned new sound systems, and the administrative support necessary to pull off an effective and sustainable ministry with children. Teaching not just the tasks, but the why behind the tasks, and the follow up. Those of us in the trenches know that follow-up doesn’t just mean clean-up and the measure of success isn’t just the numbers of kids who attended.
When these students age up to high school…I’m dreaming…in all honesty, I’m planning in my head….that there would be several very intentional times of training this team to dream, plan, calendar, and creatively provide for moving through the liturgical calendar year. This team would be involved with the teaching, the training, the creative energy behind large family events and weekly small faith-formation experiences. We would teach them to resource their idea, market it, plan it, set the goals for it, measure it for success or edit, as a team of freshmen, then as sophomores, then as juniors. As seniors in high school they’d serve as full-on interns to train up those behind them. We’d pay for their first national kidmin conference once 18 years old AND all the local kidmin training we can get them to throughout these high school years.
Then. Then! THEN! When these students age out of youth and into the next season of their lives, they’d be prepared and ready to serve in a local church as the lead in that 10 hour, 15 hour, 20 hour position if those were available. We’d get them connected with a local coach for THIS to be their part-time job in college. With churches probably moving smaller in the future, yet more connected, they’d be prepared for the continuing decentralizing of local church attendance.
I’ve begun talking about it among our students and they are all over it. The wins, just off the top of my head?
- Fulfill Titus 2 with a great hand-off ready for effectiveness.
- Through the training up, our local church would remain culturally relevant because of these student’s influence and leadership.
- Students can grow our church’s engagement in the digital revolution of our changing culture.
- Students will be ready to continue serving the body of Christ with effective skills.
- Students can earn a small living in those areas which are paid positions while in college/continuing education. Who doesn’t need a few bucks as a young adult?
- Students will keep those of us currently leading from making irrelevant assumptions about our community and the future of the church.
- Students will help us clarify the gospel message to our community.
- Students moving to a new area would have immediate connection to Christian community.
- When I hear there is a job posting for a 10-hour, 15-hour, 20-hour position, I won’t have to post it. I can send them someone ready to go with skills, enthusiasm, and a call to ministry…for we are ALL called to the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- What else?
‘Go ye therefore, and TEACH all nations, baptizing them…: TEACHING THEM to observe ALL THINGS whatsoever I have commanded you: AND, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ Matthew 28:18-20