Children's and Youth Pastors: Can't We Get Along?
All of us in ministry are on the same team—at least we are supposed to be!
1 Corinthians 12:14-19 tells us there are many different parts of the body of Christ, but we exist for the same purpose. If you look in these verses, you’ll see three main points. First, you should see that every part of the body is needed and is important. Second, there is no place for jealousy in the body! And third, God knew what He was doing by creating different parts of the body by His own design. We might have different callings or interests but we have the same purpose.
The other day I was looking at some different posts on Twitter and after reading some #kidmin posts and also a few #stumin or #youthmin posts and reading some of the blogs they were connected to I felt lead to do my own tweet… "I’m not sure who started the war kidmin or stumin? Doesn’t matter it’s time to end it and work together." I got several retweets and comments, but the fact is it’s time we started working together to reach the family. As long as parents have children to parent, I want to help them succeed.
Ephesians 4:11-12 says, "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up." I have looked from cover to cover and I can’t find the title Children’s or Youth Pastor mentioned in the Bible other than under the office of the pastor. We both exist to serve and help our pastors. We might work with different age groups, but the purpose is the same! Proverbs 22:6 tells us to "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart." This verse to me doesn’t stop in children’s ministry; it extends to the youth department and beyond. What we do to train children from thirteen to age eighteen is just as important to the process as what we do from three years old until twelve. My good friend Mark Harper says “If children don’t make close friends at church during fourth, fifth and sixth grade, then will not stay plugged in the church youth group." I agree with Mark that the things we do with children have lasting effects.
Structure is an amazing study to me. One of the cool things about getting to travel to different churches is to see how they organize and structure their different ministries. For some reason, a lot of churches like to do what they have always done. Because of this, they have what they have always had. Just because you adopt a model for a season doesn’t mean you are married to it forever. There are many models to choose from today; most I have found are a re-naming or re-positioning of older models. Also, I am seeing that many people are moving to a family ministry model, but they have not spent time defining what family ministry looks like to them. They put the family ministry name on an old Christian education model. What you do to aid and assist the family is more important to me than what you call it.
Since we are part of the same family, we must practice family living. Judgment must start with us. 1 Peter 4:17 says, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God..." and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? It’s up to us to pray and search our hearts and ask God to show us areas where we have an "us versus them" mentality. It’s time to be all "us" when it comes to helping the family reach their children, no matter what age their children are. We all have to decide to support one another.
The Lord is at work redeeming and sanctifying a people for Himself.