Children’s Ministry 101. Lesson 5: Recruit the Team

The Word of God teaches that the Church is the Body of Christ (Romans 12, I Corinthians 12).  This description has many rich implications for church life, including how we do the work of children’s ministry.  To properly minister to our covenant children, the local church needs a team (a body) of gifted believers to do this work, not just one person.  So if you have been designated, hired, or have volunteered to be the Director of Children’s Ministry, it’s essential you surround yourself with a Children’s Ministry Team (CMT).  It doesn’t make a difference whether your church is small, medium, or large–the job is too big and the stakes are too high to walk alone.  Our children are the next generation in God’s Kingdom, therefore they are worth having a team of committed “covenant parents” to shepherd them.  So, let’s talk recruitment of this vital team…

Lesson Five: Recruit the Team

The easiest way to think about recruiting the CMT is by answering some of the classic journalistic questions: Who, What, When, How, and Why.

Who?  Certainly, we want people who love Jesus on the Children’s Ministry Team.  That’s the first and ultimate requirement!  But, we want more than Christians or simply church members who are willing, don’t we?  We want Christians who love children, who love God’s Word, and who are committed to the work of the local church in the lives of families.  From there, its helpful to have several sorts of diversity on the team (not just for the politics of diversity, but to use various parts of the Body of Christ!).  You need older members and younger members.  You need team members who are fairly new in the church and some who have been involved for years.  It’s also a blessing to have male members–maybe an elder or deacon–if possible.  After that, the makeup of your church will determine what your diverse team looks like.  But, never strive for ministry team “variety” without individual commitment to Jesus, children, the Word of God, and the work of the church!

What?  The CMT is tasked with overseeing the work of children’s ministry in the church.  Under the leadership of the Children’s Ministry Director, this team sets and implements the vision and the CORE.  Beneath this umbrella, their regular job is to recruit the laborers (more next lesson).  In addition to these very practical tasks, the CMT should also be praying for the laborers and the children, as well as encouraging the laborers who are in the field.  They can also be very useful to brainstorm new ideas/activities that fit within the philosophy of ministry.     

When? There are a couple aspects to this question.  When do you need to recruit a CMT?  Right now!  Even if you only have one or two members at first.  Even if you are doing this work part-time, or don’t have that many children in your church.  Get a team in place right away to communicate that this is never to be a one-person show.  And, when do we meet?  Once a month is a good routine, whenever is most convenient.  Lunchtime meetings can often include the most people, as well as evening meetings.

How?  So, how do you recruit this team?  In our lazy, supposedly ease-of-communication age, it’s a must to recruit PERSONALLY.  Talk to future team members face-to-face.  Show each recruit how excited you would be to have him or her on your team.  Let people see your passion!  You may even want to take them to lunch or meet for coffee.  In an era of impersonal distance, you will be amazed how people respond to the personal touch.

Then, as you assemble your team, you need to decide HOW LONG the term of service will be.  People typically need to know the length of service time to be able to fully commit.  Our CMT members used to serve for two years, until we received feedback that they were just figuring out how to do the job after two years!  So, now members serve for five years (the same as our elder terms).  Find a length of time that helps members serve well without burning them out.  Finally, after your team has stability and members are beginning to roll off, you can use your team to recruit new members.  In this way, they can also take ownership of the future of the CMT.

Why?  Full disclosure here: Sometimes, working with a ministry team can be quite frustrating.  It may remind you of those times in school you were assigned the dreaded “group project,” and you ended up doing all the work.  It may be hard to keep the team motivated or working, since they are just volunteers.  You may develop group dynamic issues that you’ll have to address.  Yet, for the reasons expressed in the opening, a children’s ministry team is still essential.  In its best version of itself, this is the group which will carry the passion and vision of children’s ministry throughout the congregation and comes alongside you in all your efforts.

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