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Connecting With People On Sunday Morning

Leadership //

I believe that leadership is critical to ministry success, whether that’s in Children’s & Family Ministry or any other area of the church.

We talk about leadership principles, growing as a leader and developing leaders around you. We talk about what kind of leader is effective and what our leadership should look like.

But we also need to talk about what our leadership should “not” look like.

Let me back up a little bit: for anyone who’s led in children’s ministry, you know there is a lot to do. There are a lot of details, and service times can become pretty crazy, right? And, no matter how well you plan, things rarely seem to go according to the plan – there’s always something unexpected. Children’s Ministry can be just flat out hard to do! Have you been there?

Most of us are there just about every week. I’ve certainly been there.

And, early in my ministry, especially, I tended to become either focused or frantic on Sunday mornings. Even when things were going according to plan, I kept expecting something to happen, so I started getting into the habit of acting “focused & frantic” – especially before, between and after services. Everyone and everything around me started to become a blur.  I got so intent on getting things done, putting out fires, and micro-managing people that I forgotwhat was important.

And what’s that, you say? The people themselves.

I needed to stop being a focused and frantic leader and start
being a leader that connected with people

My boss, at the time, Dan Reiland, often spoke of something he had learned from our pastor, John Maxwell. He said John had taught him to “walk slowly through the crowd”.

On Sunday mornings I could literally walk through the lobby of our children’s building and never talk to anyone. I was focused on getting to the nursery because we didn’t have enough help. Or I needed to get to the 3rd grade class because the teacher called in sick. Or I needed to unlock the tech center that had somehow gotten locked in kids church.

You get the idea. There was always something to be focused and frantic about! And I neglected the very reason I was there – people.

So I learned to walk slowly through the crowd.

  • I practiced keeping a smile on my face instead of the intense look that made people think I was angry (I wasn’t – I was just focused – but it looked like I was).
  • I intentionally made eye contact with people instead of avoiding it, knowing that if they said something it might slow me from dealing with the issue at hand.
  • I relaxed a little when people wanted to talk, and learned that not every conversation has to be 10 minutes long. I could connect meaningfully without engaging in a long conversation.
  • I started to listen more intently to people, and learned that what’s up with people bubbles to the surface pretty quickly, enabling me to be more aware of what they were dealing with. And that made me care about them more.
  • I initiated contact with more kids and made sure to connect on their level, even if just for a few seconds.
  • I began making mental and even actual notes about the conversations I had and the things I observed so I could follow up with that person later.

I began to walk slowly through the crowd to allow for vital interactions with people.

Sure, everything still needed to get done. Problems still needed to be solved. But I didn’t need to be so focused and frantic on those tasks and problems – at least not externally.

What I needed to do was walk slowly through the crowd.

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About the Author

Greg is a children’s ministry veteran of over 25 years who blogs at ChildrensMinistryLeader.com. He now serves Senior Director of Leadership Development at David C Cook, developing and delivering ministry training around the world. He’s a sports nut who married way over his head to Michele, and is kept on his toes by two teenage boys, Taylor and Garret. Website: http://ChildrensMinistryLeader.com; http://Twitter.com/ChildMinLeader; http://Facebook/com/ChildrensMinistryLeader