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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Posted on February 12, 2018
With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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Yup, a year late comment but here it is …
I would love for this article to be resource for such talking point on an upcoming Kidmin podcast. Encouraging to hear this, just wish all churches could accommodate the provision for their children’s pastors but it will never happen(not being negative, it’s just the truth).
I’ve been a kids pastor/director since 1989 in 6 churches within 3 states and have never been on a payroll; I have received few benefits here and there but nothing substantial or career based.
Although I have made it all these years without, I would never turn away any such opportunity.
The article gives me hope, LOL 🙂
Dear Thom, thank you for the article. A few years ago our church transitioned from a Youth Pastor to a Minister of Children and Youth approach. We have experienced the reality that while a candidate for this position may have labored long or be engaging in the long labor or gaining theological training, few if any have any training in ministering to children or youth. I have been looking for some training possibilities for our staff person, but am having a hard time finding “nuts and bolts” training. Are you aware of training opportunities for ministering to children and youth? Thanks so much!