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Solving (Sunday Morning) Chaos

Sue Kahawaii

  • Do you ever find yourself dreading a church service because you won't have enough help -- again?
  • Have you ever actually hoped attendance would be down in a classroom?
  • Do you attend "church on tape" because you can count on one hand the times this year you've attended an adult service?
  • Have you ever thought to yourself that if you hear just one more person say, "Children just aren't my ministry," you'll scream?
  • Have you considered joining the choir (it seems like everyone else does) so you can escape the classroom?
  • Do other people in your church view children's ministry as hazardous duty?
  • Do you think a senior pastor getting up on Sunday morning and "really giving it to them" is an effective recruitment method?
  • Have you ever closed a classroom because there was no teacher that day?
  • Can you really assure that there's adequate adult-to-child ratios in all your classrooms every time the doors are open?
  • Are you ready for an approach to building healthy children's ministry teams?

If you answered yes to any of the questions in this pop quiz, it's time to take a fresh look at your core beliefs about recruitment and team building in your children's ministry. There's a saying that there are three things you'll always have to grapple with in children's ministry -- time, space, and money. For the most part, that's true if you're part of a growing ministry.

But, if we were to be completely honest, the #1 cry that's heard all over the world in children's ministry is: Are there ever enough volunteers to meet the needs?

Yes...if you stop focusing on recruiting teachers only. Instead, change your focus to building ministry teams, finding good leaders, and involving parents in the classroom. Our 450-volunteer staff in children's ministry didn't happen with recruitment campaigns, pulpit appeals, or guilt-trip responses.

This staff happened because we intentionally focused on structuring our classrooms to operate on a team method, and we were willing to overhaul everything we ever thought about recruitment and teachers.

Choosing Leaders First

Many years ago, I realized I needed to stop finding only teachers and start looking for good leaders first. Our leaders don't have to be great teachers or, in fact, know much of anything about kids. Skills can be taught. Understanding of children can be taught. Leadership principles can be taught, but not everyone has leadership ability.

Our leaders have to be natural leaders. Of course I want great teachers, but many teachers aren't necessarily good classroom leaders or team builders. Yet in most churches, we ask each teacher to be the classroom leader, team builder, administrator, cook, maid, first-aid provider, disciplinarian, usher, and if there's time left over, teacher. Our first priority is finding leaders who can orchestrate all the things that need to be done and free up teachers to do what they're called to do -- teach!

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