Seeing Kingdom Potential in Each Child

Seeing Kingdom potential in each child

As a little girl, I loved to go to church.  I mean loved.  It was the favorite part of my week.  I remember walking through the doors of my church excited to be with friends and adults that I loved.  The atmosphere in that pink (yes, pink!) classroom was warm and welcoming.  The adult leaders taught me songs and scripture verses that I still remember to this day (and sing aloud occasionally).  I was introduced to bible stories that deeply impacted my life.  These precious experiences impacted my life so deeply that I wanted other kids to love going to church just as much as I did.  Little did I know at that moment that God was preparing me for the call He had on my life.

When I began serving in Children’s Ministry as an adult, that desire was my drive…I wanted other kids to love going to church just as much as I did – even more than I did!  I wanted to create experiences that would help kids know how much the God who created them loved them and cherished them.  I wanted children to make friendships that could become lifelong.  I wanted children to treasure God’s Word and be excited to learn it, know it and do what it says.  I wanted children to develop a love of Jesus, one that would sustain them a lifetime.

You see, for me, leading Children’s Ministry is remembering that each child has Kingdom potential.  That means seeing each child who walks through the doors of my church as children who might one day grow up and be a dynamic Christ-follower.  That means seeing them not as the church of tomorrow but as the church of today.  God is working in their lives now, preparing them for the call He has on their lives.

Who but God knows the future He has for them?  Maybe the next great theologian, pastor, ministry leader or church planter is sitting in one of your classrooms right now.  Maybe God is preparing a boy or girl in your ministry to be the next author, politician, artist, business leader, or teacher to turn the world upside down for His honor and glory.

That’s why what we do each week is so much bigger than what we can see with our human eyes.  Each week, we are privileged to welcome children through the doors of our church…children who come to us with all sort of family backgrounds, personalities, gifts, talents and potential.What we are part of is Kingdom investment right now.  What an honor to be part of influencing the life of a child who might change the world and shine bright for Jesus!

If you’re a kidmin leader or volunteer, there’s something I’d like to challenge you to do.  The next time you hold your mid-week or weekend programming, I want you to look around at all of the children in attendance.  Look them in the eye.  Look beyond the challenging behavior, family circumstances or personality issues.  Look at them through a new, fresh lens…as one who could make Jesus known to a world who desperately needs Him.

If you’re a parent, there’s something I’d like to challenge you to do.  Do everything you can to plug your child into a church that helps them know and follow Jesus, one that challenges them to grapple with what they believe and challenges them to put their faith in action.  Attend church regularly so that your child can be connected to leaders and peers who can encourage them along their spiritual journey.  Help them see the church as another voice to speak into their lives.

Keep the conversation going!  How might this change in perspective affect how you minister and parent this week?

7 Things to Remember When a Parent Expresses a Concern

When a parent expresses a concern

Months ago, I drove my niece to school and was very alarmed about her safety (and those of her classmates) at drop-off time.  Because of my concerns, I emailed the principal and the PTA President and eagerly awaited a response.  Three weeks later (yes, three weeks later), this is the exact response I received from the PTA President:

“I am not sure if you have received a response from the administration. Please feel free to attend our meeting this Thursday at 6 p.m. to discuss your concerns with drop off.”
As a former PTA President, I found this email appalling for so many reasons but I won’t go into all of that here.  In a nutshell, I found this to be a missed opportunity for the PTA President to properly invite me into a dialogue about the issue, among other things.  As a ministry leader, I found it equally appalling.  I would have never addressed a parent’s (or aunt’s!) concerns this way.
Here are a few things I was reminded of as a leader who communicates with parents who have expressed a concern:
Don’t brush it off.  When a parent takes the time to express a heartfelt concern in a non-confrontational way, address it.  Don’t ignore it or discount it.  So maybe the parent expressing the concern isn’t volunteering in the ministry.  In my opinion, it really doesn’t matter.  Addressing it – or not – speaks volumes to those we serve.
Take a deep breath if the concern is expressed harshly.  When a parent feels their child’s safety is at risk, emotions tend to run high.  So take a deep breath and hold off on returning that phone call, pressing “send” on that email, or spewing off a defensive response (but don’t wait three weeks).  Pray and ask God to give you the right words to say and the right attitude to say them.  Remember the words of Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”
Respond in a timely fashion.  Personally, I felt that the three weeks that passed between my original email and the response was too long.  Not hearing back sooner, even acknowledging that the email had been received, was disappointing.  As a leader, aim to respond within 24-48 hours.
Listen to them.  What is the heart of the matter?  What are they really communicating?  When listening to a parent, listen without trying to come back on the defense.  Sure, we think we’re taking all of the necessary steps to keep our ministry safe but maybe there is something that isn’t on our radar.
Address them by name.  If you know me well, you know that nothing gets under my skin more than an email that doesn’t address me by name.  I felt a bit disrespected being addressed that way.  When addressing a parent’s concern, address them by name and, if meeting in person, look them in the eye when talking to them.
Value their opinion and invite them to be part of the next steps.  Believe it or not, not all of the policies and procedures we’ve implemented in our ministry have been ideas that I’ve come up with.  It’s been a collaborative effort.  If their concern is valid, invite them to be part of the process and work together to come up with a solution.  A few questions to get you started would include:
  • Is there an existing policy or procedure in place that is not being enforced?
  • Is there no existing policy or procedure in place but needs to be?
  • Is an existing policy or procedure in place but outdated?
  • Is there an existing policy or procedure in place but the parent doesn’t know it exists?

Thank them for coming to you.  Yes, it’s true that some parents nit-pick about every little detail and are quick to point out every single flaw in your ministry.  But for the most part, a parent that comes to me with a valid, heartfelt concern, speaks volumes to me.  I want to help them.  Why?  Because I value them and want their support.  Remember: a healthy ministry is a partnership between church and parents.

By keeping these things in mind, you will create a culture where parents are able to express their concerns, be heard and valued, and be a true partner in the ministry.

Keep the conversation going!  What tips do you have in handling parental concerns?  Share your ideas below!

Flashback Friday: My Favorite Online Reads (Week of May 4, 2015)

This Week’s Favorite Online Reads

Here’s a sampling of some of the online reads I enjoyed this week:


What’s Your Leadership Made Of – Steel or Straw by Margaret Feinberg

The Best Way to Get Buy-In by Dale Hudson

Expand Your Vision: Partnering with Parents by Orange

How to Acclimate a New Volunteer by Orange

How to Lead A “Creative Team” by Brian Dollar

The One Thing You Must Focus On To Succeed in Children’s Ministry by Dale Hudson


I hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as I did.

Did you read something this week that inspired or encouraged you? Share it with me so I might check it out, too!

Flashback Friday: My Favorite Online Reads (Week of March 23, 2015)

This Week’s Favorite Online Reads

Here’s a sampling of some of the online reads I enjoyed this week:


Has the sun set on Sunday School? by Melissa Pandika

5 Steps to More Effective Children’s Ministry by Rob Hoskins

What’s Causing You to Limp Into Weekend Services by Dale Hudson

Strategy, Not Curriculum by Reggie Joiner


I hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as I did.

Did you read something this week that inspired or encouraged you? Share it with me so I might check it out, too!