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3 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started in Kidmin

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I had no idea in 1977 when I said yes to my pastor to covering Children’s Church for a Sunday that 38 years later I’d be writing this blog post. I also had no idea what God had in store for me. I’m thankful for all the wonderful doors, like this one that He would open. I am also thankful for the early years I had serving kids and families at Southside Assembly in Jackson, Mississippi. I’m still in contact with so many of those kids; it’s also hard to believe that those first 12-year-olds are turning 51 on their next birthday. (Thanks, Facebook, for making me feel old.)

In those early years I wish I had known to grow my leadership as well as my ministry. I understood that it was my job to help make healthy disciples. I understood the importance of training kids now for a lifetime of service in a local church. A huge mistake I made in the early years was focusing on the group of kids that made up my ministry and forgetting to have a healthy ministry with the adults that all kidmin leaders also have to work with: parents, (since not a single child in my ministry has a drivers’ license), adult leaders, and the level of leadership above you. A healthy leader raises their own abilities to communicate and lead all three groups of adults. It was years before I studied leadership and worked on growing my abilities. I remember when I wrote my first book Children’s Ministry Leadership back in 2003, children’s pastors told me, “I wish I could have learned this from you twenty-five years ago.” I always told them the same thing: “I wish I had known this stuff twenty-five years ago!” The truth is I had to choose to add leadership to my arsenal of puppets, costumes and magic tricks.

If I wanted to make healthy disciples I couldn’t do this without including parents. I wish I had known then what I know now: “What happens at home is more important than what happens at church.” The second thing I wish I had known was the importance of partnering with parents. You see, every teacher knows a child does better in school with help from their parents. This is also true with spiritual things. Healthy discipleship is a product of a healthy ministry that can be built by a team led by a healthy leader.

The third thing, I wish I had known was you have to build a team—not only build a healthy ministry but make healthy disciples. Those early years, I was a one-man show. I now know kids need other adults in their lives who will tell them the same thing their parents and YOU are saying about God. Besides that, you need a team to help you follow-up and care for kids. You can’t do it alone. Building a team calls for duplication as well as delegation.

As you work on your leadership, build a team and partner with parents, it helps you relate better and win the respect and trust of the leadership above you. That’s why I have dedicated the rest of my life to help younger leaders grow in these three areas. That’s why I created www.kidmincoach.com, theClub, my resources and Infuse. Every kidmin leader needs to know the difference leadership, partnering with parents and building a team makes. I wish I had and want to help you know these, too.

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Jim Wideman is an internationally recognized voice in children’s and family ministry. He is a much sought after speaker, teacher, author, personal leadership coach, and ministry consultant who has over 30 years experience in helping churches thrive. Jim created the Children’s Ministers Leadership Club in 1995 that is known today as "theClub" which has touched thousands of ministry leaders each month. Jim believes his marching orders are to spend the rest of his life taking what he has learn about leadership and ministry and pour it into the next generation of children’s, youth, and family ministry leaders.