6 Life & Leadership Lessons for Pastors From Children’s Ministry

Six life and leadership lessons for pastors from children's ministry

Someone once said, “Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten.”

If that’s true, it only makes sense that pastors can discover some valuable lessons in life and leadership from children’s ministry!

Welcome to Episode 7 of the More Than a Pastor Show. In this episode, I share Six Life & Leadership Lessons for Pastors from Children’s Ministry.

Plus I’ll share six reasons why every pastor should have a coach.

Can I Help You?

Are you at a crossroads right now in your life and ministry…not sure which direction to go? Are stress, financial strain, or unrealized dreams weighing you down or frustrating you?

How would it feel if you could find the clarity and confidence you need to serve God in a way that actually creates more freedom and fulfillment in your life? What would that mean for you?

If you’re ready to take a step forward in living the life you were made for, I invite you to apply now for a FREE Clarity Coaching Session at www.morethanapastor.com/coaching

6 Life & Leadership Lessons for Pastors from Children's Ministry

Today I want to share Six Life & Leadership Lessons I learned from being a Children’s Pastor. Now, if you know me, you know I haven’t been a children’s pastor.

Until now.

I’ve had a few different roles during my 20 years of pastoral ministry so far, including congregational care, small groups, local outreach, campus pastor, and my current role in global outreach.

But in October (of 2020) I also took on the role of interim children’s pastor.

You see, our children’s pastor position has been vacant for about a year. We’ve had a couple of candidates who seemed promising, but ended up not working out. 

Another staff member served as the interim pastor for about 10 months, but then she needed to refocus on her main ministry role. So…I volunteered to pitch in.

And I’m actually having fun learning new aspects of ministry, and how to serve our kids and families in this season.

I don’t know a lot about children’s ministry, but I do know that our kids and families deserve the best experiences and resources that we can provide, as we continue to navigate the health challenges in our community, brought on by the pandemic.

So here are Six Lessons on Life and Leadership that I’ve learned from Children’s Ministry

6 Life & Leadership Lessons for Pastors from Children’s Ministry

1. Make it Fun 

Work would be more fun if it were…well..more fun! Think about your work environment, the hours you keep, your daily routine. What can you do to make things more fun and enjoyable – for yourself and your team?

2. Mix it up

In children’s ministry, the hour (or so) is divided up into different segments: Worship, large group lesson, small group break-outs, an activity, and a snack. We need to mix things up to keep kids’ attention, and help them learn and retain the biblical truths we’re sharing with them. How does this apply to your work? What can you do to change up your environment so you don’t get stuck in a rut?

3. Feed Your Passion

In children’s ministry, there’s always a snack. Studies show that kids learn better and retain more when they’re not distracted by hunger. Maybe that’s why Jesus engaged with his followers around the table so many times? 

Did you ever watch the movie, The Hundred-Foot Journey? In a nutshell, it’s a movie about how two families from differing cultures at first clashed but then came together around their love for food. There’s an awesome line in the movie:  “Food makes memories.” 

So how can you use food to create memories in your context? Something as simple as bringing coffee or bagels or donuts from time to time can help fuel your relationship with your team and create an experience they’ll never forget.

4. Make it a Game

Kids LOVE to play games. And they love to win. And don’t we all? Gamification is everywhere these days – including in apps to help us learn a language or exercise or lose weight – because behavioral experts know that if we make our goals a game, we’ll have more fun achieving them, and more incentive too. Why? Because everyone likes to win. 

Sadly, for some pastors and church staff, we’re not clear on what the win is, so we don’t know to achieve it. And this is one of our greatest sources of frustration. 

So, how can you make a game out of your work? First, you’ve got to define the win for each day or project or hour. Consider giving yourself points for getting so many tasks or goals accomplished within the time allotted. Reward yourself when you get enough points. Or just decide to reward yourself when a certain task or project is completed.

5. Fuel Your Creativity

In KidMin, there’s always some kind of craft or activity that gets kids working…and thinking…with their hands. Why? Because It reinforces what they’re learning, and creates a sense of joy during the activity, pride at completion.

How does this apply to our work as pastors? Let me ask you, do you know what fuels your creativity? The things that get you thinking differently? Get you thinking outside the box? How can you make more time for these things?

6. Know Your Limits

Kids definitely have their limits when it comes to sitting in church. Many churches program their services for about 60-75 minutes.

Our new lead pastor likes to preach long, which brings our services to 90 minutes frequently.That extra 15 minutes may not seem like a big deal for most adults. But to kids and children’s ministry workers, that extra 15 minutes can seem like an eternity! There’s only so much they can take! 

And the same is true for us in our work. Yes, we have times when we need to work hard and experience stressful situations. And wow, has there been anything more stressful than navigating your church through the COVID pandemic? 

But we also need regular rhythms of rest, sabbath, and vacation. And these “off” times are one key to success when it comes to longevity in ministry.

So let me ask you, how do these 6 life and leadership lessons speak to you? Is there one that stands out as needing more work? Which one and why?

I’d love to get your feedback on this and hear your thoughts over in our private Facebook Group

Join My Private Online Community?

I’ve created a private Facebook group called the More Than a Pastor Online Community. I’d love for you to click the link to join and be one of the 1,000 pastors we’re helping over the next five years to reimagine your calling and create the life, impact, and income you were made for! 

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That’s it for this show. If you enjoyed it, would you please do me a favor and subscribe, and give us a review on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast player? It’s a great way to support the show, and only takes a few seconds.


And until next time, remember that you are more than a pastor. Saying yes to God’s call doesn’t mean you HAVE to say yes to feeling stuck, broke, and unfulfilled. Let’s work together to create the life, impact, and income you were made for!

Six life and leadership lessons for pastors from children's ministry

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