As leaders in Children’s & Family Ministry, we are typically (and rightfully) focused on our department. But, as with any organization, there’s a bigger picture that we work within. Understanding this is critical, not only because we are contributing to the success (or failure) of the bigger vision, but it directly impacts the success (or failure) of our own area of service.
There are many angles to approach our engagement with the “bigger picture” of our church. I believe one of the most important is how we serve our leaders. This includes the senior/lead pastor, the executive pastor (if your church has one), any other leader “above” your level, and even elders/board members who serve in leadership roles in your church.
What should they expect from you as you lead Children’s & Family Ministry? Here’s a few ideas:
This might be old fashioned, but I believe loyalty is critical. Not “blind” loyalty, but true loyalty. Loyalty is defined as:
faithfulness to commitments or obligations; allegiance to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.”
The way I like to think of it is that “I’ve got your back.” By this I mean I’m not going to do anything – or allow anything – that will undermine anything you do or say. If I’ve got a problem, I’m going to handle it with you directly and appropriately. If someone is talking bad about you, or about an initiative you’ve put out there, I’m going to steer them in a different direction and I’m certainly not going to join in. If I don’t understand something, I’m going to assume the best until I know otherwise, and then I’m going to handle it appropriately.
Loyalty is critical in ministry and, frankly, if you can’t be loyal to your leadership, you should have enough integrity to resign.
Yep…I said that and I mean it.
2. Hard work.
OK, with a birthday coming up that involves larger numbers than I ever dreamed of, I’ve got to say that I’ve officially joined the “Old Guys Rule” club. Which probably also means I have to work at understanding today’s young adults. But seriously, I don’t understand people who aren’t willing to work hard and yes, I see a lot of young adults that don’t seem to have much interest in working hard…that’s why I read everything I can from my friend, Tim Elmore(the guru when it comes to understanding this young adult generation).
Working hard just means that you put in your best effort at whatever it is you’ve been tasked to do. It benefits YOU as much as it benefits anyone else over the long haul. More importantly, God tells us to work hard:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men… Colossians 3:23
Communication is critical to any relationship, and it’s no different with your church leaders. I always encourage children’s & family ministry leaders to find ways to take initiative in communicating with church leaders. Why not:
- send a weekly or monthly email summarizing your ministry? Make it brief; make it positive (this is not where you complain); tell stories; relate what’s important to your leaders.
- take your church leaders to coffee or lunch just to share what’s happening, and to hear what’s happening in their lives & area of service?
- get creative in communicating in ways that work in your environment?
Also, in the area of communication, I want to encourage you to claim your voice in the conversation. Do it appropriately, but don’t allow fear, or the current culture, or whatever, to squelch your voice. You have been placed in your area of leadership for a reason – don’t allow yourself, your team & your families to get left behind because you haven’t found it within yourself to speak up!