Becoming a children’s pastor isn’t as easy as one might think. The work of a pastor is much different than the work of say a teacher or evangelist. A pastoral calling is often a lifetime calling and the individual must be consistent, committed and sometimes able to change locations.
Assignments change when you’re a children’s pastor. It isn’t always fun and isn’t easy. It’s easy to love children but ministering to them in a pastoral sort of way can be challenging. Are you thinking of becoming a children’s pastor? Here are a few things that might help you navigate this amazing journey.
Unlike their adult counterparts children learn differently, they receive instruction and encouragement differently. As pastors to children, we don’t have as much access to children as we do adults so our access and influence is limited. You can’t always pick up the phone and call the kids under your care. You have to learn to make the most of the pastoral time you have.
Having said all that, there’s nothing quite like being the pastor of children.
Having been involved in many types of ministry over the decades, I must say that that being a children’s pastor was a role that I loved most. Watching children grow into amazing young people, imparting to them the lessons I’ve learned at their age. It was very satisfying. But the spiritual director of a children’s ministry isn’t always an easy row to hoe.
You don’t just wake up one day and say I’m going to be a children’s pastor. You need a couple of things first.
Step #1: Discern a Call from God
At the very least you need to know that you know God wants you to step into this role. You may have willing hands and a willing heart but it’s up to God to say, “Now is the time!” Just as the scripture says, “Many are called but few are chosen.”
If you’ve been chosen for a ministry if you’ve been selected by God then you should move heaven and earth to make that happen. It’s not enough to except the word of others concerning this matter. You need to have your own understanding of this assignment from heaven. So if you’re not absolutely sure that you are called to be a children’s pastor specifically that I encourage you to get into the prayer closet and do some fasting. Seek His face on this matter. And once you have confirmation you can move ahead with confidence knowing that God is with you.
Step #2: Achieve the Educational Requirements
Although it’s not imperative in every situation that you have an educational degree it could be beneficial. Knowing how to teach children in the traditional sense could prove advantageous in the classroom setting like Sunday School or during a Wednesday night Bible class. Even basic certifications could prove beneficial to your ministry. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself. Yes, you will learn a lot from experience. Yes, some things can’t be taught. But a wise man or a wise woman understands their weaknesses and does their best to strengthen those areas. Even if you don’t have a ton of time or finances to go for a full degree make improving your teaching skills a priority. Your children and your ministry are worth it.
Step #3: Meet Your Denominational Requirements
In any professional environments you are required to meet the standards set out by the company’s human resources department. For example if you’re applying for a job in as a customer service representative you would need to have some computer and communication skills. This is true in children’s ministry as well!
What are your qualifications? Do a bit of research and find out what the requirements are for your denomination for a pastoral position. Talk to someone in leadership–more specifically your pastor or administrator. Check with your denomination’s website. Get a handle on what the requirements are and go for it. In some cases, a bachelor’s degree is enough and in others, a master’s degree is preferred. There could be less there could be more. It all depends on where you serve.
What’s your next step?
Whatever your challenges for becoming a children’s pastor, I encourage you to embrace them. The call to serve children is a great one. It’s worth any sacrifice required. Trust me on this. I have loved every minute of serving kids and would do it all over again if given the opportunity.
Look at a children’s pastor job description and pray through each line – is God giving you a passion for the creative and the mundane tasks alike?
You can do it!
Written by Mimi Patrick
PS: Don’t miss my previous articles like 7 surprising Requirements to become a children’s pastor. On a more serious note, read Jenny’s article on starting out right as a new children’s minister.