It’s Christmas Eve and, safe to say, most of us are anticipating some much deserved time spent with family and friends. However, it’s also a time when parents have conversations with their children about whether they’ve been naughty or nice. Figuring out if you are on Santa’s naughty list can be a lot of fun, depending on your perspective. However, this recently got me thinking, “Is our children’s ministry on the naughty or nice list?” Here are a few things to check up on…
SAFETY – If your children’s ministry routinely ignores the safety of the environments at your church, it’s on the naughty list. This includes tolerating a passive attitude about background checks and training to help children deal with trauma. As you look to the New Year, commit to getting a comprehensive plan in place to check every person who serves in your children’s department. Reinforce policies which require two, unrelated adults in any room where children are present. Then, take some time to make sure you have resources in place for serving any families in your community which might be going through hard circumstances. Be prepared to serve and be committed to protecting the innocent.
ATTITUDE – The person who mentored me into ministry used to love the saying “Your attitude determines your altitude.” He even preached a sermon on it. It’s slogany to think about it now; but, he was right. A children’s leader with a bad attitude about serving is definitely on the naughty list. Bad attitudes are contagious and you will not build a great ministry team without first fixing your attitude. If you find yourself in this sort of rut, have some hard conversations with God about getting your heart in the right place. You may need to schedule some time away to get refreshed. You might need some accountability in your life. Remember, we are told, in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 to “… encourage one another and build each other up…” A children’s ministry team should have the right attitude about serving.
FOCUS – Programs and events can be a great tool to reach new families. Yet, they can also be a huge distraction. If your kidmin is overly committed to a specific curriculum, methodology, special event, personality or program… well, you guessed it, you’re on the naughty list. As leaders in the local church, we should commit to lead people to Jesus. Commit yourself to focusing on God’s Word as your primary source for teaching. Lean on alternative resources when necessary and don’t allow them to get your team into a rut of ho-hum routine. Routines can be great but can lead to complacency. Don’t be afraid to change to something better if it will serve your community more effectively. Evaluate your programs and events to make sure you know what the win is and you’re still moving people closer to God. Success does not happen without a clear focus.
Obviously, this list could get really long. What other things, in your opinion, would put a children’s ministry on the naughty list?
I think it’s safe to assume no one wants to be on the naughty list. In ministry, we are all striving to do our best to serve the families in our local community. As you celebrate Christmas, please take some time to rest and worship this weekend. Then, start a new season of ministry with a renewed focus and energy. We hope you enjoy your season, however you celebrate it and encourage everyone to take time and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Spending time with Jesus will get you back on the nice list… and that is a work worth pursuing!