Working in children’s ministry is a great privilege and a great responsibility. While it is important to have enough volunteers to maintain the safety of the children, it is also important that volunteers meet certain minimum characteristics in order to serve in children’s ministry. While the individual qualifications may vary by church, the following are some basic requirements which apply to all children’s ministries.
The Non-Negotiable Requirements
There are certain requirements which should be made of all volunteers. These are not dependent on your needs, or your church, or your lead pastor, or anything else. These requirements are fundamental to having a safe and effective children’s ministry.
1. You must be a professing believer in Christ and strive to live your life as such.
Being a Christian is a key to working in children’s ministry. The spiritual nourishment of God’s children is at stake, and it would be negligent to allow people who do not know Christ to fill that role. There are many other volunteer positions in a church that non-believers can fill should they desire. Children’s ministry should not be.
2. You must have a clean criminal record and good references.
The safety of our children must be a primary concern. Accordingly, everyone who works in children’s ministry should have a clean background check and good references. Screening, along with a personal interview, should be a fundamental step in accepting any volunteer application.
3. A Volunteer must continue to attend services and tend to their own spiritual growth.
In any ministry, and particularly in children’s ministry, we minister out of our own overflow. Regularly attending service (or listening to recordings of services if multiple services are not available) is one key to continuing your own spiritual growth. Things like regular time in the Bible, being involved in community and regular prayer time are also fundamental. In order to minister to kids you have to make sure that you are being filled regularly and consistently.
4. You ought to like kids.
Kids know when people are uncomfortable around them or don’t like them. If you are one of those people, we appreciate that you are trying to step out of your comfort zone and we will work with you, but in the end a love for kids is critical to continuing to work in children’s ministry. As Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is key to ministering to children, and to work in children’s ministry you must have a love for God’s kids.
The Beneficial Characteristics
In addition to the non-negotiable requirements to working in children’s ministry, there are a number of additional characteristics which are beneficial in working with kids.
1. Teaching and Other Experience With Kids
If you have ever been a teacher (of God’s Word or otherwise), that will help in working with God’s kids. Knowing how children listen and learn, different ways to approach teaching, and how to keep a child’s attention will put you a step up in working with kids.
2. Other Experience With Kids
If you are a parent or in a position where you are frequently around kids, you will be more in tune with how they act and think which will benefit you greatly in working in children’s ministry.
3. Theological Training or Learning
Whether you attended seminary or are just a proficient student of God’s Word, having a strong theological background will be extremely useful in children’s ministry. Though they may not have developed the vocabulary of older students of the Bible, you will be amazed by the depth of knowledge and questions that kids will ask at young ages. I sufficient knowledge of God’s Word and doctrine will help you in responding to those questions and in preparing lessons.