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Why Leadership Matters In Children’s Ministry

Yesterday we introduced the book The Truth About Leadership & shared the guiding principles that the book introduced. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll briefly look at each principle as it applies to Children’s Ministry.

The first principle is: You Make A Difference.

Essentially, this principle carries the idea that it is you & your team – the leaders – who will determine the success or failure of your vision (gee, have we heard that before – everything rises & falls on leadership!). Here’s what they say in the book, based on extensive studies they did:

The numbers reveal that the behavior of leaders explains more about why people feel engaged and positive about their workplaces than any particular individual or organizational characteristic. Factors like…function, position…organizational size…[they list multiple categories] together account for less than 1 percent of the reason people feel productive, motivated, energized, effective & committed. The leaders’ behavior, on the other hand, explain nearly 25% of the reason. 

Put in terms of children’s ministry, your curriculum, resources, facilities, and all the other “parts” of your ministry matter, but nothing matters more than your leadership!

This is why growing yourself and equipping & developing leaders is the NUMBER ONE role of the children’s or family pastor. Grow your team…grow your ministry. (As a side note, this is why we are introducing SYNC.)

Most leaders I talk to get the idea of growing themselves, but few have truly bought into the idea of making growing other leaders their number one priority. But listen to what the authors of this book also say:

The leader who has the most influence over your desire to stay or leave, your commitment to the organization’s vision and values, your ethical decision and actions, your treatment of customers, your ability to do your job well…is your most immediate manger. 

Put in ministry terms instead of business, you can’t possibly influence every child, parent & volunteer in your ministry to the level you need to (and, obviously, the larger the church, the more difficult it becomes). But they are being influenced – by their immediate manger. For your classroom assistants, that’s the lead teacher. For the lead teacher, that’s the department coordinator. For the department coordinator, that’s the staff person in charge. {You get it – insert your ministry structure here. The one immediately above whatever position we’re talking about is the one with the most influence.} These people all need to be leaders.

This is why developing leaders across the board – creating a culture of leadership – is the most important investment you can make. And it’s why leadership matters in children’s ministry. 

What have you experienced in this area?
What would you add?

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Greg Baird is a Children’s Ministry veteran with over 20 years ministry experience. Greg has had the privilege of serving in four San Diego area churches, including under the leadership of both John Maxwell and David Jeremiah. He continues to fulfill his life calling through the ministry of ChildrensMinistryLeader.com, offering an experienced voice in equipping and connecting Children’s Ministry leaders around the country and around the world.