As I stood there in front of a couple hundred elementary age kids, my mind was racing. I was in the middle of telling the story for large group time, but realized just as I started that several of the props required for the story weren’t on stage. These were pretty big—and necessary!—props, and I really had no idea where they were at.
But I did know why they weren’t there. I had gotten comfortable. We had a system for Sunday morning, and we had gotten so used to the system that we had gotten comfortable. As a result, we had started doing quick run-through’s instead of the step by step checks we were supposed to be doing.
And we [ I ] missed making sure all the necessary props were on stage and in place.
I learned a valuable lesson that day: not to get caught in the trap of being comfortable, the first of…
Five Traps That Can Catch the Children’s Ministry Leader.
1. The Comfort Trap.
Systems, processes and standard operating procedures are important. Done correctly, they leave plenty of room for creativity, flexibility and even spontaneity. But they also open the door for getting a little too complacent. Essentially, we say, “We do this so much we don’t need to prepare as much.” That’s when we get caught.
Is there something you’ve gotten too comfortable with in your ministry?
Systems, processes and procedures are important, but can open the door to complacency.
2. The Small Church Thinking Trap.
We’re just a small church & know everyone…we don’t need to worry too much about security. If I had a few bucks for every time I’ve heard this as I’ve spoken and consulted with churches around the country, I’d be able to take a very nice vacation. Don’t buy it! This is foolish thinking, on this issue or any other! Being small does not give you an excuse to be less than excellent.
What areas of your ministry do you need to shore up?
3. The Hoarding Trap.
No one can do it as well as I do. When it comes to the individual tasks of ministry, you’re probably right. But when it comes to the collective job of ministry to children, you couldn’t be more wrong. When we think this, we tend to keep most things to do them ourselves, and that really is selfish and short-sighted. It limits the potential of you and your ministry. It disengages and diminishes the work of others. It’s small-minded.
What tasks do you need to equip others to do so that you can remain primarily
focused on doing those things that only you can do?
Hoarding ministry tasks all to yourself limits the potential of you and your ministry.
4. The Blame It on the Big Guys Trap.
Senior leadership doesn’t have a real vision for children’s ministry, so we really can’t pursue a great vision. I will agree that it’s not uncommon for senior leadership to lack a real understanding—and hence, a real vision—for children’s ministry. I can even agree that this often limits what can be accomplished in children’s ministry. But I can’t agree that you can’t have a great vision just because it’s not front and center with senior leadership of your church. You may have greater challenges, less resources and need to take smaller steps in pursuing a great vision—but let’s not succumb to feeling sorry for ourselves just because we don’t have the big guys going to bat for us every Sunday.
What attitudes might you need to adjust in order to pursue a great vision, regardless of the support you receive from senior leadership?
5. The It’s Easier to Make Excuses Than Be Creative Trap.
We don’t have…[a big budget] [great facilities] [a lot of people] [insert your challenge here]…like the church down the road—so we can’t really do a lot of great ministry like they do. A second cousin to #4 is this mindset. But it’s totally wrong. Part of my role here at David C Cook now is to work with ministries around the world. Local churches and organizations in Africa, India, South America…talk about a lack of resources! And yet I see some incredible ministry happening. Why? Because great ministry doesn’t happen because you have a big budget, great facilities, a lot of people or any of these types of resources. Great ministry happens as a result of a great vision. It happens because people are equipped and leaders are developed. It happens because there’s a culture of relationships. It happens because the Gospel is primary. Great ministry happens because you love God and you love people, and you act on it, plain and simple.
What areas might you need to focus on developing rather than focusing on the things that you don’t have?
Great ministry happens as a result of great vision, not great resources.
What other traps have you seen that can catch the Children’s Ministry Leader?
This article originally appeared here.