Vickie and I will soon celebrate our 21st anniversary as Trinity Church International Children’s Pastors. Being a Children’s Pastor for that length of time in the same church isn’t something that you hear of too often. Add to that feat, being 53-years-old and being in a church long enough to be able to minister to the children of the children who first sat in our ministry back in 1989 isn’t something that is common.
How have we stayed in one church for 21 years? We all know that this ministry provides ample opportunity to play ministry musical chairs where leaders hop from church to church every 18 months. Another legitimate question involves my age. In an atmosphere where many church leaders are looking for the youngest of the young to lead their children’s ministry, how does a 53-year-old person stay at a church? While the obvious answer is that there is fruit in the ministry (children are being saved, filled with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, healed, etc.), I believe that there is another key reason for my longevity.
Early in ministry, I learned the value of connection. My kids won’t keep coming to Trinity just because of my platform skills. My large volunteer staff won’t stay with me just because of an occasional box of donuts before service. My success is due to the ability to touch and be touched, be accessible even after a long day of multiple services for a few minutes of “me”, make sure that the words “I love you” are consistently being both heard from my mouth and seen through my actions.
Connect. The Book of Acts Church knew the value of connecting. The leadership of the Church saw that ministry wasn’t just in the Temple and in front of people. “Every day in the Temple and in people’s homes …” (Acts 5:42 New Century Version). The “real” ministry was outside of the pulpit!
Look for ways to connect. Create opportunities. Find ways to give the two most valuable gifts that you can give, you and your time. Consider that throughout the year, your boys and girls connection might come through a shaving cream fight, a sleepless overnight party, a Sunday afternoon picnic, or an afternoon at a local pool. Connect with your staff as you involve them in these events and then have them over to your home afterwards for a box of fried chicken or a few pizzas. Make time to have “the guys” out for a Dutch treat meal one evening. Or, consider that a game of Pictionary might cement a relationship.
The picture attached to this week’s blog says it all. That time of connecting the content of a can of shaving cream to the body of a child helped cement Pastor Billy as a child’s loving, caring Children’s Pastor. Connect!!!