A Captain Without A Crew
~by Leslie Dodd
The journey to becoming the Children’s Minister at our church was not a very long or rough road by any means, but the journey of being the Children’s Minister definitely has been. It has been very overwhelming at times, yet has always been rewarding.
Everyone said it would have its challenges and that I would face criticism, doubt, fear, and an occasional rowdy 3 year old, but no one warned me about the loneliness. That’s right, even with over 100 children attending on a Sunday and the adult volunteers in each room, I felt alone. No one explained the need for help, for people to serve alongside me, to encourage me, and to help carry out the vision for the ministry.
I was a Captain, but no one told me I needed a crew! I had to discover that for myself, and unfortunately, it took me over a year to realize I needed it. You see, in the beginning I was so pumped that I was given this huge opportunity to serve God in a big way that I really did not want to share that with anyone. I wanted to protect the trust the church had in me and I just felt that if I brought anyone else on board to help, it may mess everything up or cause the church to see me as incapable or weak. I am here to tell you that this could not be farther from the truth. I discovered that by asking for help and empowering others to serve God alongside me was the best thing I could have ever done.
Building a team to serve the Children’s Ministry has opened new doors, new opportunities to better serve our kids. The ones who serve on the team have allowed me to become a better leader. By having help in leading, they are able to make connections within their own teams that I could not do by trying to lead everyone alone.
Volunteers and team leaders are more like small groups and allow for more intimate relationships that help build on their faith in others and in this great God we serve. I am able to better pour into the team leaders so they can then pour into their teams.
Why hadn’t anybody told me this sooner?! We all want to be the best, and selfishly we all want the credit or praise to ourselves. We have to stop and realize that asking for help doesn’t make us weak and it doesn’t take away from what we are doing, it only makes it better.
Building the “crew” has not been easy, but it has been rewarding. I have really gotten to see God working in the lives of my teammates like never before. All were a little timid in the beginning, but I have seen God stretching them out of their comfort zones and molding them into strong leaders. It is so true when they say that God surprises you with how He answers your prayers sometimes. I can honestly say that when I asked Him to help me in finding leaders for our ministry, very few of my new leaders were who I had in mind initially. I can also honestly say that I have never been happier to be wrong! He sent me exactly who the ministry needed.
I, however, am still a work in progress. I still find myself wanting to be that captain without a crew on occasion. It is hard to ask for help, but luckily I have a crew that recognizes this in me and offers to help before I even have to ask. No matter how big or small your ministry is, you need to remember that you don’t have to or need to do it alone. Find your crew and watch your ministry grow by leaps and bounds.
God never intended us to do life alone. As written in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NCV) “Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. If one falls down, the other can help him up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls because no one is there to help.”
Also expressed in Proverbs 27:17 (NCV) “As an iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other.” God intended us to do life together, so why do we shy away from this?
When I took over the Children’s Ministry at our church, I knew I would have a lot to learn, like making crafts, how to make a schedule, and who has the lowest price on goldfish crackers. But I can say the biggest lessons I have learned have nothing to do with the kids. Learning to open myself up to hearing what God wants me to accomplish and who He wants to help me accomplish it with have been the most incredible lessons in my life. Learning to let go of the selfishness of wanting all the praise for myself has been a big step in the direction towards showing God the praise He deserves. I know, of course, that none of this is possible without Him, and He deserves all the credit for putting this “crew” together. Learn to let go and let Him take charge. Christ is the true Captain and I am very humbled to be part of His crew.
Always remember Psalm 46:1 (NCV) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” He gives you what you need when you need it, even if you are not sure what that might be at the time. Open up to Him and allow God to take control. I am definitely not saying that everything will go as planned because God’s plan and our own plan are not always the same, but letting Him take control will relieve a lot of your day to day burden of feeling inadequate or stressing about the schedule, etc.
As I said before, I am still a work in progress and definitely have my moments of panic and have to remind myself to give it back to God. But I am happy to say that this captain truly appreciates her crew and welcomes with open arms those that God places in the ministry to serve Him alongside of me.
Leslie Dodd is the Children’s Pastor at City Hope Church in Centralia, IL. Leslie is also a student at KidMin Academy. She has been happily married for 17 years to her husband, Fred, and has 2 beautiful, talented daughters, Kallie and Zoe. Raised in church, she has always maintained a relationship with God, but never imagined herself working for her local church.
Leslie says: “It can feel overwhelming at times when God calls you into ministry, but I am enjoying every moment and feel so blessed to be partnering with the parents and adults in the church to lead the next generation to a lasting relationship with Christ.”