What comes to mind when you think of leading a kids’ ministry? I clearly remember when I started out how enjoyable I thought it would be to have a simple leadership role with a lot of flexibility. What would I even do with all my extra time? To say I was naive would be an understatement.

Children’s ministry is an incredible blessing. It is a joy to lead. However, that is exactly what it requires: leading. The leadership aspect of any ministry is vital. It is so much more than simply showing up, eating crackers, and watching Christian cartoons. Let’s set the stage for what successful leadership could look like in kid’s ministry.

Leaders Build Relationships

Let’s start with the relational piece. Whether it is a new ministry or you are a brand-new leader in an existing ministry, you are going to need to get established. Start by building relationships with the people around you. Get to know them, be there for them, and invest in them. This will take time. Show them you are there for them before you ever ask them to be there for you.

As you take the time to gain their trust, you can cast a vision for the ministry. What is the purpose of what you are doing? How do they add value to that vision? Get passionate about the purpose and let them see what a blessing it can be to join in on that vision.

Before you start adding people to teams, you need to know what areas you need people to serve in. Write out a list of needs for the ministry. One of those lists should be a very detailed list of every role you can think of that will need to be filled. Consider everything from curriculum prep to classroom setup, check-in, safety teams, skits, teachers, and worship. Be as thorough as possible.

Enthusiastic business team selfie in the office
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Leaders Identify Talents

Next, identify what talents each team member within these leadership roles will need to be most successful. Start looking for people with those skill sets. Communicate with them the opportunity they have to use their gifts to be a part of what is taking place in that ministry.

A lot of times we miss out on incredible team members because we fail to recognize how their gifts can add to the ministry. Identify different gift sets and where they can best serve.

There will be plenty of people who tell you they love what kid’s ministry is about, but they cannot work with kids. Okay. What roles do you have that do not require directly working with kids? Do you have a planning team that helps put together special events? Do you need help with clean up? Maybe you could use someone who loves shopping to go out and get supplies. Or someone with an administrative gift?

A lot of times we miss out on incredible team members because we fail to recognize how their gifts can add to the ministry.

Leaders Provide Tools for Success

As you are building a great team, ensure you provide all the tools they need to be successful leaders. This includes extensive training. From the time they walk in the door to the time they leave, what do you need from your volunteers?

Clearly communicate expectations. Walk them through it step by step.

  • Arrive in a logo t-shirt and jeans.
  • Upon arrival, go to the check-in desk and have a name badge printed.
  • From there, go to your assigned classroom and make sure everything is set up and in place for kids to arrive.

It is beneficial to have these processes and expectations in writing. Providing it in multiple forms is even better. If you can email this to leaders before they even start training, they can show up confidently knowing what they are getting into.

Once they arrive, you can provide them with a printed copy as well. Encourage them to write notes in it, ask questions, and then take it home to review it.

Leaders Continually Train Volunteers

Continue to pour into the people around you and watch as God uses them to pour into you.

Provide continual training for all team members. Be intentional to encourage them personally, spiritually, and as a volunteer. Provide for them the tools needed to do well in ministry, and in life. Continue to be there for volunteers as they are there for your ministry.

Create a space where they not only love to serve, but they know they belong. You are creating a team that will become an important group of co-leaders and, hopefully, friends. Encourage them to be there for each other and for the people you are serving.

Identify people on your team who are naturally drawn toward leading and empower them to step up. As your team grows, you will need other people to come alongside you and help with the leadership responsibilities. Find people who are gifted in that area and equip them. Ideally, find people who are gifted in areas where you are lacking. Staff your weaknesses.

You will find this culmination of relationship building, equipping, and empowering will build a strong team that will in turn build a strong ministry. In your leadership, continue to pour into the people around you and watch as God uses them to pour into you.

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