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3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started

Leadership //

I had no idea in 1977 when I said yes to my Pastor to covering Children’s Church for a Sunday that 38 years later I’d be writing this blog post. I also had no idea what God had in store for me. I’m thankful for all the wonderful doors, like this one that He would open. I am also thankful for the early years I had serving Kids and families at Southside Assembly in Jackson, Mississippi. I’m still in contact with so many of those kids it’s also hard to believe that those first 12 year olds are turning 51 their next birthday. (Thanks Facebook for making me feel old.)

In those early years I wish I had known to grow my leadership as well as my ministry. I understood that it was my job to help make healthy disciples. I understood the importance of training kids now for a lifetime of service in a local church. A huge mistake I made in the early years was focusing on the group of kids that made up my ministry and forgetting to have a healthy ministry I also needed to work on relating to the three groups of adults that all kidmin leaders also have to work with. Parents, (since not a single child in my ministry has a drivers’ license), adult leaders, and the level of leadership above you. A healthy leader raises their own abilities to communicate and lead all three groups of adults. It was years before I studied leadership and worked on growing my abilities. I remember when I wrote my first book Children’s Ministry Leadership- the you can do it guide back in 2003 Children’s Pastors told me I wish I could have learned this from you twenty-five years ago and I always told them the same thing I wish I had know this stuff twenty-five years ago! The truth is I had to choose to add leadership to my arsenal of puppets, costumes, and magic tricks.

 If I wanted to make healthy disciples I couldn’t do this without including parents. I wish I had known then what I know now that “What happens at home is more important than what happens at church. ”The second thing I wish I knew was the importance of partnering with parents. You see every teacher knows a child does better in school with help from their parents. This is also true with spiritual things. Healthy Discipleship is a product of a healthy ministry that can be built by a team led by a healthy leader.

The third thing, I wish I knew was you have to build a team to not only build a healthy ministry but to have make healthy disciples. Those early years I was a one-man show. I now know kids need other adults in their lives that will tell them the same thing their parents are saying at home, at church. Besides that you need a team to help you follow-up and care for kids. You can’t do it alone. To build a team it calls for duplication as well as delegation.

As you work on your leadership, build a team and partner with parents it helps you relate better and win the respect and trust of the leadership above you. That’s why I have dedicated the rest of my life to help younger leaders grow in these three areas. That’s why I created www.kidmincoach.com, theClub, my resources and Infuse. Every kidmin leader needs to know the difference leadership, partnering with parents, and building a team makes. I wish I had and want to help you know these too.

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About the Author

Jim Wideman is considered as an innovator, pioneer and one of the fathers of the modern children ministry movement. He is a speaker, teacher, author, leadership coach and ministry consultant with over 35 years of hands on experience in the local church, Jim has trained hundreds of thousands of children’s and student ministry leaders from all denominations and sizes of congregations around the world. In the 80’s The INCM awarded him with their “Ministry of Excellence Award”, in the 90’s Children’s Ministry Magazine name him one of the 10 Pioneers of the Decade, In 2010 “Children’s Ministry Magazine once again named him one of the “20 Top Influencers in Children’s Ministry, and in 2012 the INCM presented him with their first ever “Legacy Award” for his lifetime achievement in Children’s Ministry. Jim currently oversees all the Next Generation & Family Ministries-Birth through College at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, TN Jim and his amazing wife Julie, have two successful daughters, two handsome son-in-laws and the cutest grandson ever born!