Lessons I’ve Learned: Launching a Children’s Ministry in a Revitalizing Church

18 Nov

Leading a Children’s Ministry is tough. It’s tough to compete for the attention of kids who have constant access to entertainment. It’s tough to stay relevant in an ever-changing world. And when you want to try out a new idea, it’s tough to convince your team that it will be effective, even though it’s not the way “we’ve always done it.”

It’s tough to start a Children’s Ministry, too. There aren’t any traditions to buck and it can be liberating to build your program from the ground up. But, chances are you are a part of a small and young church with limited resources, little volunteer support, and, often, a lack of experience or maturity in leadership.

But what if you were somewhere in the middle? What if you happen to be starting a new ministry in an old church? At first glance, this may seem to be a less than ideal setting for starting a Children’s Ministry.

And in my case, it certainly felt that way. I found myself, a 19 year old with little experience, handed the task of starting a Children’s Ministry for a 75 year old church in which the median age was 65. There were twelve children grades Nursery-12th grade, and four of them were my siblings. The church had not had any children’s ministry for a generation.

I had all the challenges of an old church: traditions conflicting with relevance and volunteers who had strong ideas of how it should be done and all the budget and volunteer challenges of a new church.

Fast forward 4 years. Today, we have 50 regularly attending kids between Sunday Morning and Wednesday nights. We now have functioning nursery, pre-school, primary, junior, and youth group ministries. Every year we have a VBS, fall carnival, and Christmas program. We recently started a weekly after school program for neighborhood teens, and our Wednesday night program for Kindergarten – 6th graders consists of 25 kids, 90% of whom are from un-churched families.

I do not wish to brag. On the contrary: I had little to do with it. Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, it’s builders labor in vain.” It is all to the glory of God that anything good has come from my involvement in the past 4 years.

But I do wish to encourage those in a similar position. My experience has been that a new ministry in an old church can be the best of both worlds. With an established church, comes a wealth of spiritually mature volunteers, facilities ready for use, and a rich heritage of fellow workers who have gone before you. If you, as a leader, can learn to take full advantage of these priceless resources, you will find, as I have, that “re-starting” a Children’s Ministry is an exhilarating and rewarding process.

Throughout the past four years, I have made many mistakes (too many to number) and learned many lessons (too many to list). I’ve chosen 8 that I find particularly essential to launching a Children’s Ministry revitalizing church. They are the lessons I wish I would have known before I started. They are the lessons I am continuing to learn.

1. Be Christ-Centered
2. Be Rich in Content
3. Incorporate the Church’s Legacy
4. Creativity, Not Convenience
5. Empower Leadership (for real)
6. Get Started
7. Keep Going
8. Encourage Momentum


One response to “Lessons I’ve Learned: Launching a Children’s Ministry in a Revitalizing Church

  1. Nicole

    June 11, 2015 at 7:53 am

    Thank you for posting this! I feel like I may be in the same situation, and this has really helped put things into order!


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