I Just Want to SCREAM!

Commander Bill Gunter —  April 11, 2011

It happened again! You have a children’s ministry activity planned and someone else is using the room, the equipment, or whatever, hindering your planned event. You get so frustrated and want to scream!

I’m sure that has never happened to you ūüôā

It happened to me last night. We entered the church to find someone painting part of the set for the Easter production in the gym where we hold game time for Awana. When asked if they could be moved, the answer was, “they’ll have to work around it.” Not only was the space being used an issue, but the fumes from the paint were permeating the building and the classrooms adjacent to the gym which are used for Awana and youth.

I now have a snap decision to make. How do I handle this situation? Awana is a planned weekly event and it is known that the gym is a key part of the night. Plus the fumes, how do I accommodate the rooms impacted by the fumes? Do I pull out the righteous indignation and demand they relocate the props and paint elsewhere? Here is how I handled the scenario:

With about 1/2 hour before families would be arriving, decisions would need to be made quickly. Pulling out the “righteous indignation” would have prolonged the “conflict” and minimized time to find viable options. So the option I had was to remain calm and initiate “Plan B” (I didn’t even have a plan B prepared!)

  • Game time¬†was moved outside for all age groups (game guy had to quickly adapt)
  • One room had to have windows opened and ventilated to minimize the fumes
  • Another class was relocated at the last minute to avoid the fumes and a check to be sure that relocation would not impact others.

I could make these snap decisions because I’ve experienced similar scenarios several times where another ministry did not consider others and negatively impacted the children’s ministry.

By remaining calm, leadership is displayed.

By initiating a “plan B” and working around the obstacle, you show that you (children’s ministry)¬†are willing to work with other ministries to achieve a common goal, reaching people for Jesus.

Address the situation in a calm manner later with church leadership (depending on how your church is structured) and share how God made a way for your ministry to run, how you are willing to work with other ministries, and ask for courtesy and consideration next time. Hopefully in the future other ministries will follow your example, begin to work together with you and consider one another as plans are made.

It is better to be inconvenienced and work with other ministries, than to cause discord within the Body of Christ. Getting frustrated only adds to the current conflict and does nothing to remedy it and does not put your heart in a place to minister effectively.

So when something like that happens to you and your ministry, be calm, be Christ-like, be thankful for God providing a “Plan B”.

Commander Bill Gunter

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Bill is the Associate Pastor of Children & Youth at Hanover Fellowship in Hanover, Pennsylvania where his responsibilities include caring for children and youth from birth through high school. Along with his responsibilities in the local church, Bill is very involved in the Awana ministry, serving on the ministry teams of local Awana missionaries, providing trainings, leading workshops and helping run regional events.