Kids have always been a passion of mine. I knew as an adult, I not only wanted to have some of my own, but professionally they would in some capacity be the center of what I’d be doing. Fast forward fifteen years, three kids, and now look at me I’ve just completed my first month as a Children’s Director.
ministry in itself is not a new concept to my family or me.
My husband and I both grew up in the church. We started serving in student ministry shortly after getting married and my husband completing his Masters in church ministries. We actually started a church plant (which is a whole other topic). Not to mention the position I held as a nursery and childcare coordinator on a church staff. But here I am currently a Children’s Director and can I just say it’s an entirely different ball game! My previous experience as nursery coordinator was very educational, but when your previous boss is the best children’s director around, there are things that she took care of that I didn’t have to worry about, and she made it look so easy!
it’s not as easy as it looks.
My first month alone has shown me that it’s not as easy as it looked and there was a handful of things I wish I’d known before running a full ministry where every decision that is made falls on me. Our first week of starting two services after the summer was when I realized I was I was in over my head. I had two call outs that day, and both were lead teachers. At the time, I was under the impression that if the volunteers were scheduled they were capable of leading the small groups. That was not the case.
So, when the volunteers arrived 10 minutes before service started, I had to quickly empower them that they are capable of leading their group, and convince them that they would do a great job. After I was done peeking in on the other classrooms, I came to the check-in area where there was a very long line of parents waiting to check-in their children. Apparently, when I switched the settings of our registration process, I had done it completely wrong. Every person in the family was being checked in to both services for multiple areas. Talk about a waste of labels! As I was trying to correct that, service was starting, which would be no big deal, except I had agreed to do announcements. To a lot of people, it may not seem like a big deal, but, I absolutely hate public speaking. I am good talking to kids, but adults or my fellow peers, not so much. So, that was an added stress. All these changes in one weekend were very necessary, but I know I could have avoided a lot of this craziness if I had not had them all on one weekend.
I quickly learned one change at a time is paramount, because even though we’d like to think everything will go smoothly on a Sunday morning; the reality is it won’t. There is always a bump in the road. If multiple changes need to happen in a weekend, over-staffing is a must! Having other people available to do things that come up, so you’re freed up for the more important things. That week was very educational for me, and I took a lot out of it!
With that said, here are the seven things I wish I’d known my first month as a children’s director.
1. if you are hired as a part-time employee, be prepared to work full-time for a few months.
Navigating a new ministry will certainly consume all of you for a little while. Not to mention, the best way to understand your job is diving in.
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2. if you’re full time, prioritize your time and make the best use of it.
Make lists and set specific goals for what you want to accomplish by month one, three and six. Then reach your goals!
3. make sure to engage with your volunteers from day one!
First introduce yourself, either individually and personally, or in a group session at a training or meet and greet. Then regularly send emails and text messages to help build rapport.
4. change is good, but too much at one time can overwhelm your volunteers.
Prioritize the changes starting with what will impact your ministry in a positive way.
5. let your volunteers see your heart and passion immediately!
They will jump on board if your raw passion resonates with them!
6. recruit, recruit, recruit!
Before you even start your duties as Children’s Director, start looking for volunteers! Most likely with the change in command, some volunteers will take the opportunity to bail, don’t be discouraged new people will want to jump on board with what you are doing.
7. find the volunteers that will be the foundation of your ministry!
These volunteers have a huge heart, and get the big picture! They understand that it’s not about them or us, but the next generation! They are your world changers!