Home Children's Ministry Leaders Children's Ministry Blogs What KidMin Leaders Do: Build Relationships (5)

What KidMin Leaders Do: Build Relationships (5)

So far we’ve look at how we build our relationship with God, core leaders, volunteers and parents.  You can read the entire What KidMin Leaders Do series here.

Oddly enough, as Kids Ministry leaders we need to also build relationships with . . . KIDS!

(By the way…my photo today is for the benefit of Sam Luce…he wrote a great, fun post called Stuff Kids Pastors Like. Check it out to see what I mean!)

What I have found is that the larger the church I serve in, the less I am fully engaged with children and the more I am focused on adults.  For example, when I served in a small church, I taught kids every week.  When I led in a church of 7000+, my job was almost solely focused on adults (managing my staff, connecting with parents, investing in volunteers, etc.) and I taught kids on a much less regular basis.  This does not negate any kidmin leaders need to build relationships with kids!

Relationships with kids . . .

  • Helps you know the story of your ministry. As the leader, you must know the story that is…being written every week in your ministry.  Each week’s program might be the chapters, your parents & leaders might be the pages, but your kids are the words.  You must know the kids in order to really read the words in the story of your ministry.
  • Keeps you focused on what’s important. Sometimes we need reminding of what’s most important.  It’s not the program, or pleasing adults, or the environment…the most important part of our ministry is the kids! Seems obvious, doesn’t it…but easy to forget amidst the craziness of ministry.
  • Gives you needed perspective. Kids are simple . . . but can be so profound.  Kids tell it like it is.  Kids are fun. We need all of this, and more, that kids have to offer.

So, as children’s ministry leaders, how do we build relationships with kids?  There are so many ways, but here are a few ideas (and, by the way, I always suggest ideas like these with the common sense understanding that everything we do with kids is done appropriately):

  1. Be aware and be ready. You never know when you’ll have an opportunity to connect with a kid.  Be looking for opportunities and know how to maximize the moment.  Do you have methods (words or tools) to engage kids at a moments notice?  If not, figure out how you’ll do it – memorize questions you can ask kids to get them talking, get relational tools you can keep in your pocket…be aware and be ready.
  2. Focus on fun. The single best way to engage a child in a relational connection is to make them smile.  Whether it’s a silly story, a fun game, a cool tool (like Silly Bandz), you need to get them smiling.
  3. Be real. Kids are better than anyone at reading authenticity.  You don’t have to share your life story, but be transparent with kids.  Let them know you are a real person, have emotions, etc.  And don’t try and impress them – it’s almost impossible to impress them when you are trying to impress them…just have fun and that will impress them enough.
  4. Meet them in their world. While being transparent is vital, talking about your job and the frustrations of finding volunteers for their class really isn’t going to do much for them. Find out what they like (yea, just ask them!).  Find out what’s relevant to children today (have you visited Nickelodeon, Disney, PBS Kids, Yahoo!Kids or Kidscreen lately?) and engage them in conversations.  And do so not only in “their world” but on their level…as in literally – kneel down (don’t bend down…kneel down) to look them eye to eye.
  5. Listen. It’s amazing what you will hear from kids.  If you commit yourself to having a real relationship with them, it won’t be long until you hear their fears, their hurts, their dreams, their understanding of spiritual matters, and so much more.  But you must listen…really listen.

All of these practices (yes, I call them practices, because that’s what it takes) will go a long way toward connecting with kids in real relationships.  As I said before, though, there are tons of ways to do this, so . . .

How do you build relationships with kids?