Archives For Listening

If you spend any length of time volunteering in children’s ministry, transition is inevitable. That might mean a new Children’s Pastor, a new curriculum, new volunteers, implementing new rules, or a new position. When these things happen, there is a transition period moving from the previous to the next. This time of transition will be what you make it. Most people are resistant to change, but in children’s ministry we have to keep moving forward which means that change will happen.

Here are a few ways to make your transition time easier:

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Volunteer Love Languages

Wendy Douglas —  December 1, 2010

Do you know the love languages of your volunteers? The series of books by Gary Chapman has applied the 5 Love Languages to marriage, children, teens, and God.

I believe that you can also apply them to your volunteers.

  • Words of Affirmation – An encouraging word is a powerful thing. Saying thank you on a regular basis and pointing out something done well are just two ways to speak to the heart of this volunteer.
  • Quality Time – Giving this volunteer your undivided attention and sharing a conversation will impact them greatly. Face time speaks volumes for them.
  • Receiving Gifts – For this volunteer it won’t matter the amount of money you spend. The gift means that you were thinking of them and that means more.
  • Acts of Service – This volunteer feels appreciated by the little things you do for them. It might be letting them leave while you straighten the room after service.
  • Physical Touch – A pat on the back literally makes this volunteer’s day. A handshake or hug in greeting starts their day off with a smile. High fives work as well.

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I believe that small groups are the heartbeat of every children’s ministry worship experience. By no means am I saying that the other aspects of the service aren’t important. I am saying that small groups are where the intimate connections and conversations take place each week.

  • This is the time when a small group leader will talk more about the lesson and how it applies to life and the kids will chat more about it.
  • This is the time when a small group leader will model prayer and the kids will pray for their families and friends as well as each other.
  • This is the time when a small group leader encourages the kids to build relationships with God and others and the kids grow closer to both.
  • This is a time when a small group leader comes alongside parents and reinforces what they are teaching at home and the kids hear that additional voice speaking into their lives.

Small group time is such an important part of each week’s worship experience, and it requires a dedicated and committed volunteer to do it right. It is a time to listen to and love on the kids that we serve each week. What does small group time look like in your children’s ministry?  How do you find the right volunteers to be small group leaders?  What kind of training do you give them?

Listen With Your Eyes

Matt Norman —  September 2, 2010

Earlier this summer I attended a conference in Miami for my day job. While at the conference there were the usual main sessions and breakouts. During one of the main sessions there was a keynote speaker who said something that really struck me as both a father and a children’s pastor. He talked about his job experience, his wife and his kids. It was while he talked about something that one of his daughters said to him, that he struck me with a nearly mortal blow. She said, “Daddy, could you listen to me with your eyes and not just with your ears.” I nearly broke down in tears right then. How many times have I been doing something and have my son walk up and want to talk to me? How often do I continue working while half listening to what he is saying? More times than I care to admit.

Honestly, I am capable of hearing what he is saying while continuing to work, but that’s not the point. I consider myself a family man; the type that puts my family ahead of my worldly pursuits. However, in that moment I am telling my son that whatever I am doing is more important than him. In my mind I may be thinking that what I am doing is more important than what he is saying. This may be true as he most often wants to talk about cartoons or video games, but that’s not the point. In that moment the message I am sending my son is that whatever I am doing is more important than HIM. I could cry now thinking of the times I have done this while working, or worse, while watching TV. I fear that my son may already think that I don’t have time to listen to him, or that these other things are more important than he is.

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Hearing God

Barbara Graves —  August 17, 2010 God speaks in the strangest of places and through the strangest of circumstances. I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise, in His Word, He spoke through a donkey, from a burning bush, and from a bright light on the road to Damascus. Today is really no different, God speaks sometimes at strange times or through odd circumstances. But we have to make sure we hear Him.

In the busy lives and times of the volunteer, we are well served to do everything in our power to become sensitive to the voice of God. As our lives seem to go in many directions at once, He often speaks in places and times that we aren’t expecting. He uses events and circumstances to speak specifically to us and to inspire us. We just have to make sure that we are listening. We have to tune our ears to hear His voice above the rest of the noise of our world. Otherwise, we rush right on to the next task on our list and we may not hear Him.

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