Five Reasons Why the Children’s Minister Is the Staff Position in Greatest Demand

February 12, 2018
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It was not an unusual question at Church Answers. For those of you not familiar with Church Answers, it is a 24/7 resource where you can ask any church question and get a response within a few hours.

Here is the context. The pastor was the only paid staff member at the church, but now funds were available to bring on another full-time staff person. So he asked us in the 2,000-member Church Answers’ community to offer input on what his first hire should be.

I was blown away.

The responses, at least as I write these words, were 100 percent in urging him to get a children’s minister. There were no divergent opinions. One church leader after another exhorted him to go this route.

So why is the children’s minister position is such demand? The Church Answers community let us know, with most of the responses fitting in one of five categories.

  1. Millennials have a lot of kids. The Millennial generation is the largest generation in America’s history (though they may be surpassed by Gen Z). There are 78 million young adults ranging in ages from 18 to 38. And they have lots of kids. If they visit a church, one of their highest priorities is the quality of the children’s ministry.
  2. A healthy children’s ministry usually results in a healthy student ministry. It makes sense. If there is quality teaching and ministry for the children, these children are more likely to move to student ministry better prepared for life and better discipled for God’s work.
  3. A quality children’s ministry requires a large volunteer force. Indeed, this rationale was one of the key reasons the leaders at Church Answers responded in unanimity for calling a children’s minister. Leading the volunteer ministry can be a full-time job by itself.
  4. If churches desire to reach families, they must be prepared to reach children. If the Boomer generation acted like helicopters and hovered over their kids, the Millennial generation is acting like sidecars, and want to go wherever the motorcycle/child goes. You can’t reach a family with kids unless you are really prepared to reach the kids.
  5. Parents insist on safety, security, and hygiene for their kids. We live in a nervous time heightened by the greater awareness of sex abuse, shooters, and germs. Parents want to know the church is a safe place for their kids. The presence of a quality children’s minister is a huge positive statement for these parents.

We saw this trend five years ago. It is now a reality. The staff position of the greatest demand in congregations is the children’s minister.

Let me know what you think about this issue.

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50 Comments

  • I know I am a bit late to this conversation, but I did read this blog when it first came out, and have been thinking about it ever since. I am a children’s minister, and my pastor actually read this post the same day I had, and even brought it up at staff meeting. Made me smile!

    I never comment on blogs, and rarely even read the comments. Sometimes they can get off track in a hurry. I Just wanted to say thanks for this encouragement to kidmin people, but I also wanted to put out a challenge. I understand that your focus is church leadership and even revitalization… but if you are going to agree that this position is in such high demand, why not spend more time talking about it? I enjoy listen to the podcasts when you talk with your “worship guru”… but… where is the “kidmin guru?”

    Thanks for all you do for the church!

  • Thank you, Thom, for sharing the importance of children’s ministry. I believe it is the best way to reach not only children, but entire families. Think about in Scripture the many times people came to Jesus for one reason – they needed something for their children. It’s the same today as well. God works through children to reach entire families.

    I have focused my entire ministry to helping churches build strong children’s ministry teams, leaders and ministries.
    Dale Hudson

  • Thank you, Thom, for sharing the importance of children’s ministry. I believe it is the best way to reach not only children, but entire families. Think about in Scripture the many times people came to Jesus for one reason – they needed something for their children. It’s the same today as well. God works through children to reach entire families.

    I have focused my entire ministry to helping churches build strong children’s ministry teams, leaders and ministries. http://www.buildingchildrensministry.com
    Dale Hudson

  • My thoughts? It sort of makes me want to cry that 100% of the church wanted to go this route. We are dividing the church up into various “same stage in life” segments in so many ways – I’m afraid we’ve lost the whole concept of an 80-year old widow and a 15-year old teenager having fellowship with one another in Christ. Though I’m not a first-century restorationist, I still wonder how Paul would have responded to children’s ministries and the demand for them.

    • I’d like to see a children’s church for the little kids that allows them to gradually move towards integration into the adult service. Little ones get more out of age appropriate teaching but by late elementary/early middle school they can easily sit with the adults and start learning from the sermon. My family never did children’s church and I remember my younger sibs playing with cars and coloring when they were little. They naturally blocked out the service and just played very quietly. They had no idea what was going on, only that they weren’t allowed to make noise. They didn’t worship or learn learn about Christ and God the way I’ve seen kids in CC do. Young children learn through play, movement, and occasionally lots of noise! Maybe a cutoff age around 5th grade (allowing for normal cognitive development) could be a solution. Have other times for the bigger kids to meet for bible clubs and study groups to address their particular issues)

  • At 77 years of age, with 3 children, 5 grandchildren, and 4 greats, I will be eternally grateful to the student ministry at Church of the Savior in Wayne, PA, that my children participated in in junior high and high school. My oldest son became a committed Christian and has brought up his 3 children in the way they should go. It was called Salt and involved students from 5 feeder high schools and numerous junior highs. The students met one night a week to play competitive games which drew students from all schools in mixed teams and had a wonderful time and made friends from across all schools. Students received points for bringing new people to join, so that rather than being excluded from peer group activities, many were included. On Sunday night those who want to learn more met for Core Bible Studies. It did a wonderful work. Unfortunately it was dropped by a new youth minister, but its good works lived on through my son and hopefully through many of the other students who participated.

  • The article I am linking is an excellent counterpoint. It does NOT say that our children are not important, but it’s a reminder that taking them out of the service is doing them a DIS-service in a couple of ways. So . . . hire a children’s pastor if you wish, but don’t allow him to set up children’s classes that function at the same time as the worship service if you care about your families or your church’s children. Read it here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2016/03/13/killing-the-church-with-sunday-school/

    Pastors, the children in your flock are still your own responsibility. You cannot delegate them to someone else and wash your hands of them. You can hire someone who will oversee Sunday school (at a separate time than the worship service) if your church budget allows it, but that does not take your children outside your care.

  • Cheryl Dunlop Molin says on

    The article I am linking is an excellent counterpoint. It does NOT say that our children are not important, but it’s a reminder that taking them out of the service is doing them a DIS-service in a couple of ways. So . . . hire a children’s pastor if you wish, but don’t allow him to set up children’s classes that function at the same time as the worship service if you care about your families or your church’s children. Read it here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2016/03/13/killing-the-church-with-sunday-school/

    Pastors, the children in your flock are still your own responsibility. You cannot delegate them to someone else and wash your hands of them. You can hire someone who will oversee Sunday school (at a separate time than the worship service) if your church budget allows it, but that does not take your children outside your care.

    • Wait a minute …. a pastor can’t delegate another minister over children? When a pastor assigns a CM over children … that in itself is taking responsibility over his flock. It’s also Biblical. Moses delegated over 70 ministers to assist his flock. Volunteered or hired, a Kidmin leader does not mean the pastor has washed his hands of kids, he’s doing just the opposite. He’s expressing his passion and love for children by allowing someone who can consistently be on the kids level in ministry.

  • Dave Kibble says on

    thom. Could you define ages of children for children ministers, and is this ministry separate from a youth pastor? If it is can you clarify the age differences?

  • Paul Viens says on

    Years ago I remember noticing that my church had a hard time keeping CM’s. It was a revolving door. One morning I prayed to the LORD and was frank with Him. I said why is it no one cares about the kids? And I don’t either LORD. I asked what is my problem. I didn’t want to go down the road of pointing fingers. Especially with my apparent apathy. And the rest of what I say you can believe or not believe. I began to sense the LORDS presence. In my minds eye or as I like say sanctified imagination. I was in an empty warehouse. It was a brand new building. Just an empty shell with metal poles holding it up and bare concrete floors. (While praying I was flat on my face) So in this vision I was still on my face looking at the concrete floor. All of a sudden I saw the feet of Jesus. He was tapping his foot on the floor. And he said I want you to teach my children my word so when they get older ( the building became finished off on the inside and completely constructed) they won’t be destroyed by the enemy. I will never forget that. All of what has been said in this thread I have experienced much of unfortunately, but in times of great discouragement I remembered what he showed me. I work full time and have a family and still struggle with keeping my commitment sometimes. I do not get paid either but put money into it. But I can’t stop until He says I need to move to another assignment. Not easy but truely rewarding…
    I wish I could change the way things are but it seems I can’t. The only thing I can do is stay committed to Him.
    Many other testimonials I could share. God is on the move. Be encouraged…

  • Yes! I totally agree with this assessment. I will add, as a former Children’s Minister serving in the ministry for over 30 years, three things I needed in order to remain faithful for the long haul was:

    First and foremost, I needed to be totally dependant upon the Lord for all strength, vision, and encouragement.

    Secondly, I needed a supportive Pastor and Spiritual Leadership Team! Without them backing me and supporting my efforts, it would have been hard to effect true change in the lives of the families I was ministering.

    Thirdly, I needed to keep people first. I needed to always remember that the ministry is about people, not programs and events. Yes, these latter are important, but they do not trump the people – kids, parents, and volunteers. Each needs a Children’s Minister who will shepherd them not just give them fun and fancy programs to experience. I’m still serving the families that I led and I’m not even on staff anymore. People matter!

    Children’s Ministers have a hard job, but one that is very rewarding. I would add one more thing. Today, more than ever, I believe CM’s need a Leadership Coach, so they remain focused on what is important as well as being ever so encouraged during the tough times.

  • Tracy Pace says on

    I understand the frustration of insisting the church training kids and parents abdicating their responsibility. However, I personally know 3 adults (and probably more if I knew their testimonies) who were evangelized through children’s ministry while Mom and Dad never attended. These adults are grateful for the ministry of their local church and those teachers and leaders who led them to faith in Christ. They even evangelized their own families. And they are the biggest supporters of children’s ministry in the local church. It’s kind of like the 99 lost sheep and the one who needs rescuing. Just a thought…

  • I will echo those in this conversation who point to a dearth of volunteer leaders as one of the reasons why churches who are able to will hire a children’s ministry professional. I love and applaud the intentionality this demonstrates but lament the fact that this is a role that used to be filled by caring parents who are now either unable or unwilling to see the importance of giving away their time for ministry.
    The sad truth in smaller churches without a budget for hiring a children’s minister is that children’s ministries are being staffed by a cadre of loosely assembled volunteers who are likely to be untrained and who may feel unappreciated because there is no one “at the top” who is tasked with the important role of seeing the big picture and coordinating efforts and loving on all those hard working volunteers.