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Kids Pastor or Circus Master

Marty Martin

Stop being a ringleader! Take off your top hat and let someone else tame your ministry's time-sucking "lions" so you can shepherd children.

When I graduated from Bible college more than 18 years ago, I was ready to make a difference for Jesus. I wasn't sure about the particulars yet and left those up to God.

My first full-time position was as a Christian education pastor, overseeing all Christian education from birth to the grave (except, of course, for teenagers). During this time, a burden for children grew in my heart.

By burden I mean a passion and deep care. I read up on children's ministry, talked to "kids pastors," and jumped in and tried to figure out how to serve little ones. I believed I could invest my life in no better or riper field.

My wife and I began ministering to children wholeheartedly. Because we knew we couldn't do everything alone, we worked to equip the current teachers and build a bigger volunteer team. This only helped our ministry become more intentional and grow.

Early on, I noticed that children are very open to the gospel but that the church often puts ministering to them on the back burner. So I was determined to become personally involved in children's lives. I was going to be their pastor. Yes, I needed help from a team, but these kids needed someone to love them, understand them, go to bat for them, and teach them in ways they found interesting. I had a heart for this generation.

Through the years, subtle changes took place. As I served bigger churches and programs, meetings increased exponentially and paperwork swelled like a tsunami. Part of it was a cultural phenomenon, as insurance companies, lawyers, and accountants began to have more say in how churches operate.

In 15 years, the number of children I worked with grew from 75 to 300, and the number of adults working with me grew from 80 to more than 500. You read that right. Because of our schedule's rotational nature, we needed almost two people for every child. I was constantly on the phone or computer, updating weekly schedules and recruiting more volunteers.

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