What other boundaries should you define for yourself? Since all
of us have different capacities, skills, talents, and knowledge for
leading children's ministry, then logically, the detailed
topography of your boundaries will be different from anyone else's.
Yet there are four very important questions you need to answer to
determine your boundaries.
1. What kind of person are you? Do you like
working with people, or would you rather work with things? What are
your signature strengths?
Recently, I led my children's ministry staff through the Gallup
organization's StrengthFinder assessment (www.gallup.com)
and the book Now, Discover Your Strengths by Buckingham and
Clifton. This process revealed what made each of us on the team
tick -- and what ticked us off. It helped us understand and
appreciate each person's personal, specific boundaries.
2. What kind of energy reserves do you have?
How much sleep do you need to function? Do you work in quick shots,
getting a lot done in a short time, or are you a marathoner who
takes more time to process and consider all possible outcomes? Some
people have unbelievable stamina when working on a task; others
need to rest in the process. Do you exercise? Do you eat properly?
To determine your energy boundaries, you must listen to your body.
It'll tell you when you need recharging. If you don't listen to
your body, it'll break. A few signs that you may need recharging
are fatigue, irritability, depression, or lack of motivation.
3. What kind of budget is right for your
ministry? It takes money to do ministry, pay staff,
purchase curriculum, laminate posters, provide snacks, copy VBS
invitations, do background checks...so who's paying for all
If you carry the financial burden for the children's ministry,
it'll only be a matter of time before you feel that others are
taking advantage of your heart for kids and your personal time and
financial resources. It's okay to contribute your money to the
church for children's ministry, but be sure the church stands
behind your leadership with a budget. A budget says the church is
with you and accepts responsibility for the financial expenditures
it takes to operate a quality ministry for children.
4. What kind of expectations inspire or drain
you? We can't have a discussion about boundaries without
also talking about expectations. As a children's ministry leader,
you have four sources of expectations: your boss, children's
parents, yourself, and God. If at any time these four sources of
expectations oppose one another, it'll create undue stress, worry,
and tremendous displeasure.
Several years ago, I read Unlocking Your Sixth Suitcase by Jay
Carty. One of the important principles I took away from that book
was the idea of the 60/40 rule, which is: You must connect with and
enjoy at least 60 percent of your job and its expectations. If you
view more than 40 percent of your job as a downer with draining
expectations, you probably won't make it.
Actually, the key to success in any leadership position is the
proper match of reachable expectations with one's capacities. Once
again, remember that God made each of us with different
I think it's funny when someone says to me, "I can't understand
how you lead a large children's ministry, travel extensively, teach
about children's ministry, write books, and still have a life." All
I can say is, "That's what I enjoy doing." I'm inspired by that
particular subset of expectations. On the other hand, I'm mystified
by the person who can take a resource room, organize it, and keep
it stocked with all the supplies. What might inspire me may drain