More than ever, children's leaders must guard their hearts and avoid thinking they are alone in ministry. Once they allow themselves to feel isolated, it is easy to fall victim to a spirit of accusation. Instead, leaders in children's ministry must hold onto the truth that they are part of God's plan to change lives and bring hope to their church and community.
Too often, I consult with children's ministry leaders who feel alone, isolated from the rest of church leadership. Children's leaders sometimes find themselves out of the loop on issues or decisions pertaining to the church or ministry projects. Nothing is more frustrating than to work hard and then find out someone other than your overseer has made a decision that will affect your ministry or position.
Isolation almost always leads to receiving a spirit of accusation. A leader friend once advised me to guard my heart from isolation and accusation. We must not believe the lies the enemy tells us about ourselves and our ministry. Jesus said, "I will never accuse you to my Father" (see John 5:45). After I understood this text, I realized I am much more able than I thought to take steps in guarding my heart against offense, isolation and the attacks of the enemy.
I pray that, as children's ministry leaders, we not view our leaders as always opposed to us. Even if they disagree with us sometimes, the Lord does not want us to become negative. We are all imperfect, and God wants us to minister in unity, even through disagreements. Adopting a defensive or poor mindset toward those who oversee us can lead to a loss of passion and, ultimately, to stepping aside at the wrong time, causing the ministry to become stagnant. When we become stagnant in ministry, our hearts can become bitter.
Make it your goal this year to build healthy, flourishing relationships with those who oversee you in ministry. Here are three vital steps I have found helpful:
- Ask your senior pastor for 15 minutes of his time. Tell him you desire to see the children of the church walk in the power and vision God has given the church leadership. Ask these important questions: "What's on your heart for the church in this season? What sermons are coming up next? How can the children, our ministry staff and I pray for you and your family?"
- Give a quarterly report to your senior leadership team. Brag on your key staff, note the central messages on which each area of the children's ministry is focusing, describe the needs in your ministry they can pray about and share your heart and passion for the next season.
- Spend at least five minutes of every Sunday school class or children's church setting praying for the church leadership and their families. Record the children's prayers and send them to the leadership team. This will bring them great encouragement and reveal your passion for children to be released to pray and love their leaders. "Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength because of your enemies, to silence the enemy and the avenger" (Ps. 8:2).
Lenny La Guardia is executive director of the Children's Equipping Center and vice president of ministries at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri.
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