Children’s Pastors: The Great Void

Children's ministry
Solid, young children's ministry leaders are hard to come by these days. (Lightstock)

I've been in serving in children's ministry full-time for about 25 years now. At 47, I'm definitely middle-aged. And, I'm starting to turn around and look behind me.

What I see alarms me. There has always been a void of children's pastors. Don't think so? Just go check the open job listings on any church staffing site and you'll see the largest number of empty positions are children's pastors.

But as I look behind me, I see an even greater void of young children's pastors. Don't get me wrong, there are some great young children's ministry leaders emerging. But the number of leaders pales in comparison to the harvest fields that are ripening all around us.

We must raise up young leaders who will reach the next generation for Christ.

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We must pray for the Lord to call young men and women into children's ministry. 

Jesus told us to pray for workers for the harvest. Let's ask God to move in the hearts of young people and call them into children's ministry. Jesus wouldn't tell us to ask for something God didn't want to give us.

Christian universities and seminaries must prepare young people for children's ministry. Very few institutions of higher learning that prepare people for ministry have degrees in children's ministry. Some do, but it is minimal and nowhere near the number needed.

Churches must raise up children's ministry leaders. When churches make children's ministry a priority, children's ministry leaders will emerge. Out of our children's ministry staff of over 50, only a small handful were brought to our church from the outside. The vast majority were volunteers that we have poured into and raised up as staff members.

Churches must provide internships in children's ministry. Internships are a great time to solidify those whom God is calling into children's ministry. I know of several churches that do this very well, and I have seen God use it to call dozens of young adults into children's ministry.

Children's pastors must be intentional about investing in the next generation of leaders.

We must gather young leaders around us and mentor them. We must begin handing off leadership to them. They are the future of children's ministry.

Dale Hudson has served in children's and family ministry for over 24 years. He is director of children's ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Florida. He was recently named one of the top 20 influencers in children's ministry. He is the co-author of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children's Ministry.

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