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When Are You Too Old to Be a Children’s Minister?

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When Are You Too Old to be a Children’s Minister?

Is there an age when you are to old to serve and lead in children’s ministry?

50’s?

60’s?

70’s?

80’s?

I used to think people in their 50’s were old.  Now that I am in my 50’s, it doesn’t seems that old after all.  Some of you reading this can identify with that.

I think back to when I was in my 20’s in children’s ministry.  I would have all night events with the pre-teens.  I was right there with them.  I had plenty of energy and kept up with the pre-teens with no problem.

When I got into my 30’s, the all-nighters shifted to ending at midnight.

Once I hit my 40’s, we ended at 9 pm (ha).

Can you identify?  Does that remark resemble you?

If you are in your 20’s or 30’s, this will be helpful to you one day when the gray hair starts showing up and you have to color it or leave it gray.

Now that we have that on the table, let’s talk about the big question in the title of this article.

When Are You Too Old to be a Children’s Minister?

I don’t think this is something you can put an exact time frame on.  I think it varies from person-to-person.

We know the Bible says the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.  Once you are called, you are called for life.  Now how you live out that calling as you get older will depend on your health and relevance.

Here are a few tips that can help you continue serving as a children’s minister for a long time.

Gather younger people around you.  The older you get, the more you need to surround yourself with younger staff and volunteers.  When you bring the zeal of youth and combine it with the wisdom that comes from many years in ministry, you have a great combination that can really make a difference.  This leads right into the next point.

Listen and learn from the next generation of leaders.  Be open to new ideas and methods of doing ministry.  Don’t get stuck in your ways of doing things.  What got you to where you are now probably won’t take you where you need to be in the future.  Be proactive in seeking out input and ideas from younger leaders.

Stay in good shape.  It will be challenging to continue serving as a children’s minister if you are not in good health.  Be proactive in staying healthy.  Exercise regularly.  Watch what you eat and how much you eat.  Get a good night of sleep.  When you are in good health, it makes it significantly easier to continue serving as a children’s minister.

Shift your role even more toward mentoring the next generation of leaders.  One positive thing about getting older in ministry is the opportunity it gives you to mentor and invest in younger leaders.  You have much to offer the next generation of children’s ministers.  Be intentional about mentoring and coaching them.

Stay relevant with what is happening in kid culture and with families.  Keep track of the culture of today’s kids and families.  Today’s families and kids are a lot different than the families and kids of the 1980’s and 90’s.  Know what movies, video games, music, toys and social media apps they are currently engaging with. 

Continue to grow in your leadership skills and new roles in children’s ministry.  Learning opportunities don’t stop when you hit your 40’s or even 50’s.  Be a lifelong learner.  Read new books on leadership and ministry.  Subscribe to some cutting-edge podcasts.  Go to conferences and find out what is fresh and relevant in ministry.

Stay on top of new technology.  Nothing will cause you to be outdated more quickly than technology.  Stay on top of what is new.  Be proactive in finding apps and programs that will help you take the ministry to the next level.  Don’t be the guy or gal who is still using Myspace.  Believe it or not, it is still available.  If you are reading this and you are in your 20’s, you probably don’t know what Myspace is.  Point made.

Embrace new ministry methods.  Don’t be the person who hangs onto old programs and methods of doing ministry even when they are on a downhill slide.  Do you have any programs that you’ve been doing for a long time that now only has a handful of kids attending?  Are you using curriculum just because it’s what you’ve always used?  Are you still doing a program just because it was started by Sister Jennie Anne 30 years ago?

Be willing to hold the ministry with open hands.  What worked in the past may not be working today.  Each year sit down with your key leaders and talk through everything you are doing.  Is it still relevant?  Are there a good number of children still participating?

If you are like me, I have no problem changing programs I didn’t start.  It’s the programs I have started that I hate to see stop.  Many times those type of programs are tied to a portion of our self-esteem and confidence. It’s my baby… and so we hate giving them up.

We have to get over ourselves and put the ministry before our personal preferences.  If we don’t, we will become outdated and will be a major hindrance for moving the ministry forward.

More than ever, children’s ministry needs you.  No matter where you are in your journey of life, stay faithful, stay relevant and keep growing and learning.

You have a lot to bring to the table.  Children’s ministry needs you now and for many years in the future.

Wherever God places your finish line, stay in the race and cross it with a smile on your face.

This article originally appeared here.

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Dale Hudson has been serving in children's ministry for over 30 years. He is an author, speaker and ministry leader.  He is the founder and director of Building Children's Ministry. BCM helps churches build strong leaders, teams and children's ministries.  (www.buildingchildrensministry.com)