Two years ago today, I stepped away from my position as Director of Children Ministry and Missions and stepped into a new ministry.
A ministry designed to encourage and equip other children's leaders. Why? At the time, I could give you a dozen reasons "why."
Today, I can give you just one; and that is....because God was calling me to something new.
Being on the outside looking in, I can see a lot of things clearly that I could not see at the time.
I can see God's hand at work...and I can see where God's people are struggling.
Today, I see more and more children's leaders walking the same path that I walking. Standing at a pivotal point and questioning whether it was time to step away from children's ministry...even if for a short period of time.
I hear you...and I understand it completely!
When I first stepped into children's ministry (37 years ago), it was because I had a heart for children, a desire to teach, a burden to share Christ with children, and a strong desire to make an eternal difference in the lives of children...and I still do.
Fortunately, I have been blessed to be able to do just that.
However...over the years, as the role of a children's leader...and children's ministry in general...began to change...I found myself questioning if it was time for a change.
With the gradual step...that many churches were making...to move children's ministry into more of a family ministry (which to be perfectly honest...is not where my heart, talents, or gifts lay) I knew it was time for me to step down and allow someone new to fill that position.
Fortunately for me (or by divine intervention...I like to believe), my resignation date was December 15th, 2019; which was right before the pandemic began.
And then COVID...
Although I had already noticed a huge shift in children's ministry...I had also noticed that more and more responsibilities were being laid at the feet of the children's leader.
I saw these responsibilities grow expeditiously during COVID.
Don't get me wrong...no one planned for COVID.
It hit all of us in an instant.
There was no perfect solution.
There is no blame.
But the facts are that many of the responsibilities landed at the feet of our children's leaders.
No longer were our children's leaders responsible for their tiny flock..."MANY" were challenged with preparing resources for families, preparing and making home drop-offs, hosting zoom calls, preparing family resources, and making sure that families returned to the church when it was safe to do so.
And at what cost?
It is costing us many amazing leaders (many of them who are volunteers) who simply can not stand up to all of the pressures and added workload.
Are we stretching our children's leaders in too many directions? Are there children's leaders (like me) who have a heart for children but do not have the gift of working with parents? Are we expecting too much from our volunteers? Are we pushing extra responsibilities off onto our children's leaders because most of them are kind-hearted, willing to serve, organized...and we know that they will get the job done at any cost?
Is there a solution?
Many years ago, at a past church, we had a "Family Pastor". I am sure that many of your churches have one as well. The Family Pastor took on many of the responsibilities that are now being placed at the feet of our children's leaders. The Family Pastor ministered to families. They handle many of the problems that families are facing...with resources, counseling and much more. They are trained to handle a broad array of topics. many of which most children's leaders would struggle with...and be unqualified for.
Is it time that we bring back the "Family Pastors"? Is it time to take some of the burdens off the backs of our children's leaders? Is it time to allow our children's leaders to do what they have been called to do? Lead children!
Check on your Children's leaders...are they standing at a pivotal point?
Do they need encouragement? Do they need a helping hand? Do they need some responsibilities removed from their plate? Do they need a break? Do they need volunteers? Do they need a hug? Do they need an occasional surprise coffee? Are they struggling? Are they comfortable with what they are being asked to do? Do you ask for their input?
Don't let a good leader go!! They are priceless!
Praying for each of you this morning! Have a blessed day!
If you are a children's leader and you are standing at a pivotal point...speak up! If you are struggling, make your needs known.
I am praying for each of you!