Children’s pastors can get frustrated with their situation. They want to move forward and they meet resistance. If your job is a basket of roses and puppies then challenge someone for a game of Words with Friends and skip this article. 

You cannot control every situation you face as a children’s pastor. So what do you do? Here’s a story to remember that might help.

situation not ideal
Golf has been around a long time. During colonial times the British businessmen living in India tried to play golf, only to be frustrated by monkeys who disrupted the game by chasing the golf balls and running off with them. It was an annoying problem. The British tried erecting fences and posting guards to keep the monkeys back. Nothing worked. The monkeys would climb the fences and avoid the guards.
Eventually they decided to make a new rule: play the ball where the monkey drops it.
That’s a lot like life and children’s ministry. Some things are beyond our control. You have to start with what you have. You never get to start with what you wish you had.
Before we start, I will assume two things:
  1. That you believe God called you to lead a children’s ministry. If you are only doing this because it’s a job then you might want to re-evaluate why you are doing it.
  2. You are at the church where God has called you. If not then you might want to consider moving on.
But even if you are CALLED to lead a children’s ministry in the PLACE you currently serve, you have probably found yourself facing a few stubborn challenges.  Some of these challenges may be out of your control at the moment. Here are the big five challenges.

1. You do not have enough ministry support.

You see the importance of what you do but it doesn’t seem like anyone else does. You alone are left to create value in what you do. Sometimes other staff members seem to be pulling against you. Sometimes the parents do not get it. And sometimes your own Lead Pastor appears less than interested in what you are doing. 
SOLUTION: You start to make the case for the value of reaching kids with God’s love and grace. Put relevant scriptures on the walls. Talk to parents, staff, workers and potential workers. Tell them about your vision for children’s ministry.

2. You do not have enough workers.

You do too much stuff on your own with too little help.
SOLUTION: Start recruiting by personal invitation. Never rely on general announcements. Talk to people.

3. You are underpaid.

Yes, I know. You are doing full time work for part time pay.
SOLUTION: Make yourself indispensable to the church and trust God to supply your needs. Go beyond what anyone expected from you.

4. Your facilities are inadequate.

You do not have enough rooms. They are too small. They are not attractive to workers, kids or anyone else.
SOLUTION: Begin to explain how children’s ministry will be more effective with more/better space. Find someone who can help you theme out some rooms.  Celebrate little victories. Be patient. (And take some before and after pictures.)

5. You do not yet have the skills you need to be effective.

Hardly any children’s pastors are prepared for the challenges they face leading a children’s ministry.

SOLUTION: Read books on children’s ministry, ministry in general, organization and leadership. Attend conferences and workshops. Ask questions. Read posts of children’s ministry Facebook pages. Start with “I Love Kidmin” Facebook page. Do not be shy. Do not be afraid to ask ANY question. Go for it.

The Wrap Up

You may do like where you are at. There may be challenges out of your control at the moment. Play the ball where the monkey drops it.

Here are some suggestions.

  1. Affirm that you are called to do children’s ministry in the place you are at (at least for now).
  2. Watch your attitude. Do NOT get frustrated or appear frustrated with your situation. 
  3. Take small steps when big steps are not available.
  4. Clarify your vision and talk about it.
  5. Build relationships within the staff and church.
  6. Ask God for clarity on how and when to move forward. 
  7. Trust God to work behind the scenes.

by Roger Fields, Prez of Blitz Ministries

Inspired by the book, “Play the Ball Where The Monkey Drops it” by Gregory Knox Jones