If you’re a kidmin leader, having a vision for children’s ministry isn’t optional. You’ve heard it over and over: “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Without a clear understanding of where your program is going, you’ll never see your dreams and vision come to pass.
Having a vision for children’s ministry also involves knowing why you want to go somewhere and how you’ll get there.
Vision is vital! Every Christian leader knows by heart, “Where there’s no vision, people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). I like to say it this way, “Where there is vision, people flourish.”
I think every list I’ve ever made in my leadership club lessons has begun with the words “Start with your vision.” To me, a vision for children’s ministry identifies how you want your program to end up. With kidmin, each age group or ministry has a vision, and those make up the overall vision.
Vision casting is simply communicating the vision for children’s ministry so other people make your vision their own. Why is this so important? Vision determines action and outcome.
Over the past 35 years, I’ve considered quitting children’s ministry many times. In the early years, it was every Monday. In my 40s, it was so I could become a senior pastor. So why didn’t I quit? It’s simple: My vision for children’s ministry wouldn’t allow me to quit. Then I realized: If my vision wouldn’t let me quit, I could share it with others who serve so they wouldn’t quit either. (You can read all about this in my book Volunteers That Stick.)
So how do you successfully cast your vision in a way that others grasp it and own it? I’m glad you asked. Let’s look at seven steps.
Vision for Children’s Ministry: 7 Steps of Vision Casting
1. Start with discovering your vision.
Pray, dream, and hear from God firsthand what he wants for the children’s ministry you lead. I love to be still before the Lord and imagine the possibilities and his desires for my ministry. Ask and you shall receive. When I draw close to God, he always draws close to me. Ask God for a picture of the end result.
2. Next, write it out.
Take those thoughts and dreams and turn them into words. You’ll never turn your vision for children’s ministry into reality until you’ve turned it into words. Habakkuk 2:2 is a great verse: “Write the vision down and make it plain so they that read it and can run with it.” As I write and study the vision, I compare and examine my leadings by the written word of God.
3. Simplify your vision for children’s ministry.
That verse in Habakkuk not only tells me to write the vision down but to also make it plain. I try to put it into a single sentence, if possible—or two to three at the most. Let the main thing be the main thing. Run your vision by someone who doesn’t help in your ministry to make sure it’s simple and understandable. Then keep it before you and write it on every publication. Commit it to memory and talk it up every time you speak.
4. Create a plan to bring your vision to pass.
Planning must always go before action. You’ve started with the end; now go to the beginning. Determine exactly where you are. Now begin to think in small, manageable steps or short-term goals. Focus on each step in the process, being careful not to move too quickly or to skip a step.
5. Create structure to make your vision for children’s ministry happen.
Structure is the key to being able to move in the direction God wants you to go. You know where you want to go, and you have a plan to get there; now you must identify the people, positions, and talents needed to pull it off. It’s not enough to just write job descriptions; you also need to create policies and develop systems to make ministry reflexive.
6. Communicate the vision for children’s ministry to your key leaders and staff.
This is where you take what you’ve done so far and give it away. Casting vision is hard work and can’t be accomplished with just one method or part-time. Speak it, put it in a brochure, make banners and show pictures that explain it. Use video, interviews, and take every opportunity to communicate and explain your vision as well as your plan. This includes meetings! Spend time with the level of leaders directly under you and help them make your vision their own. This is an important step, because they will impart your vision to others. That way, you won’t be alone in the vision casting process. This is something you must develop as a life habit; it must become part of your lifestyle.
7. Teach all workers your vision for children’s ministry.
Teach and explain your philosophy of ministry. Describe your mission and overall goal. Teach your structure. If your workers and volunteers don’t understand how authority works, they won’t be people under authority. I also teach vision-specifics; for example, what I want each child to become after they complete each ministry within our program. I teach my plan in steps so people can easily follow and understand it.
How do you develop and share your vision for children’s ministry? Share your ideas in the comments below.