6 Life & Leadership Lessons Pastors Can Learn 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!

In this episode of the More Than a Pastor Show, I share Six Life & Leadership Lessons Pastors Can Learn From Children's Ministry.

I’ll also share a quotation for the day, a free resource to help you find the clarity and confidence you need to go after your greatest calling, and some Q&A. That’s all coming up on today’s episode of the More than a Pastor show.

Before we dive in...

Apply for Your Free Clarity Coaching Session

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.

Q&A With Rich Avery - Why Pastors Need a Coach

Here on the More Than a Pastor Show, I’d love to answer questions submitted by you, the listener, but since the podcast is still new, I’m taking the time to introduce myself so you can get to know me a little more with each episode.

At the beginning of the show, Mr. Announcer said that I've been "More than a pastor for over 20 years…"

It was an executive coach who first introduced me to the idea that I was more than a pastor. 

I was in my first year of pastoral ministry - in my late 20’s with three young kids at the time (we added two more a few years later). He was a member of my church, around 65 or 70 years of age. His name was Don.

One day Don reached out to me and shared how he was an executive coach who worked with business leaders and entrepreneurs, and even a few pastors, to help them grow in their life and leadership.

He took the time to ask about the goals and dreams I had for my life, and what kind of plan I had for my own personal growth, to help me grow into the kind of person who could achieve those goals and dreams.

Umm...plan? I didn't have a plan for my own personal growth and development.

Then Don asked if I would like his help in creating a plan to turn my wishes into goals and my goals into reality. 

I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical at first. What was this coaching thing about? And why would I, as a pastor, really need a coach, anyway? 

Every Pastor Needs a Coach

"Everyone needs a coach," Don explained. A coach is someone who sees the things that no one else can see, and says the things that no one else will say.

It's no surprise, then, that if you look at a cross-section of high performing individuals - whether athletes, entrepreneurs, business leaders, or even pastors - one of the most common traits you'll find is that each person had a coach! 

They made a strategic decision to invest in themselves by investing in someone who could help them see and create the future they desired, and overcome the forces of delay, doubt, and distraction which keep them tethered to the status quo.

And that's why I said yes to Don's coaching invitation. Because if I wasn't willing to invest in myself and my future...who would?

6 Things a Coach Can Do For You

Through my coaching relationship with Don, I was blessed to discover first-hand 6 things that a coach can do for you:

  1. Believe in you and help unleash the potential within you
  2. Be a sounding board - a safe place for you to share your frustrations, dreams, and passions
  3. Create clarity around the dreams, values, and passions that are most important to you.
  4. Help you get unstuck so you can move forward
  5. Show you how to take permission, instead of waiting for permission from someone else, to live the life you were made for
  6. Open you up to new opportunities and an abundance mentality

At Don's funeral last year, I had the privilege of sharing a few words about what Don meant to me. As I reflected on the various "gifts" Don had given me through my coaching relationship with him, perhaps the greatest was the development of an abundance mindset, which literally opened up a whole new world to me.

That’s one of the reasons why I’ve committed myself to sharing what I'm learning and experiencing, to help others create personal clarity around the life, impact, and income they were made for. 

Do you feel like you’re stuck right now? Not sure which direction to go? Have unfulfilled dreams you’re not sure what to do with? Wish you could find a way to create more income for your family? Have a passion you want to pursue to change the world?

How would it feel if you could have someone to talk things through with? Someone who’s been there. Who understands what it’s like? And someone who believes that you really can live out your greatest calling?

I’d love to get on a free call with you to meet you, listen to your story, and see how we could work together to help you create the life you were made for.

If that sounds good to you, I invite you to apply for a free coaching session at www.morethanapastor.com/coaching.

Quotation of the Day: Lawrence LeShan

Our quotation of the day is from Lawrence LeShan, who said:

“Most of us are pretty good at keeping promises to others and pretty bad at keeping promises to ourselves.”

Does this describe any pastor that you know?

Anyone...

Anyone...

Well OK, I know I'm guilty!

As pastors, we’re great at responding to the needs of others, but don’t always take time to care for ourselves, do we? 

And sometimes we’re so busy helping our staff and leaders grow in their life and leadership that we’re not helping our own selves grow.

We can neglect important things like our health, or our spouse, until a crisis forces us to change. And then we can only hope and pray we get the chance to make that change before it's too late

Many of us set aside our long-held goals and dreams for “some day.” The problem is that some day just never comes.

Or we pour so much into our work for the church that we neglect other hobbies and interests that feed our hearts, souls and minds.

So, I have two simple questions for you today:

  1. What’s one area of your life where this is true for you...where you’ve been bad at keeping promises to yourself? 
  2. What’s one thing you can do this month to move the needle on that and begin to keep that promise?

Listen to this episode to find out where in my life this has been true for me.  I’d love to hear where it's been true for you! Send me an email at [email protected]. Or how about we discuss it in the More Than a Pastor community on Facebook?

6 Life & Leadership Lessons Learned from Being a Children's Pastor

Today I want to share 6 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 6 Lessons on Life and Leadership that I've learned 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, and 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.

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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!

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