What’s Your Problem???

Leadership //

Sometimes people just don’t get it. They don’t get the vision that you are trying to lead to. They don’t participate in ministry as they should and as you want them to. Perhaps parents don’t participate at all. Perhaps they are somewhat flippant in the way they approach ministry. Perhaps they are lacking commitment, easily pulled away when something better comes along.

It’s frustrating, isn’t it?  As I lead people like this, it’s easy to get so frustrated and even angry with them.

Don’t they understand what we’re trying to accomplish here???

And there’s the key.  In most cases, the answer to that question is “no, they don’t understand what we’re trying to accomplish here.”  And whose problem is that?  Usually it’s mine.

I have to take responsibility for…communicating the vision effectively.

Start by casting a broad net. Everything about our children’s ministry should communicate our vision. From the visual image received when someone walks into the facilities, to the way programming is done, to the policies & procedures established. The communication tools used need to communicate the vision, be it the scrolling slide in the sanctuary to the notices in the bulletin.  These are general vision-communication tools that anyone can see.

Speak a vision language. Every conversation I have needs to drip with vision. Someone asks me a question in the hallway? Answer through the lens of vision. Teacher training? Filter it through the vision. Engaging the kids? Teach to the vision. We ought to have key phrases, words and concepts that naturally fall from our lips with virtually everything we say.

Settle any vision confusion. When people don’t participate in your ministry the way you think they should, or in a manner inconsistent with what you are all about, it’s usually due to a lack of understanding or buy-in to the big picture – they don’t reallyunderstand what is trying to be accomplished. Settle this with direct communication with these individuals. Your vision should be obvious to everyone, and it should leak from everything you say, but sometimes it needs to be directly applied and taught. This is where the phrase you’ve seen on this blog over and over comes in to effect once again: Ministry happens best through relationships! When you have relationships with your team, settling vision confusion is much easier, because it can be handled in a personal conversation (or conversations). You and your core leaders (staff or volunteers) should be willing and able to address cases of vision confusion (teaching inappropriately, not following guidelines designed to engage children effectively, not working with parents correctly, misrepresenting the ministry, etc.).

So when I look at one of my volunteers and think “what’s your problem?” I need to start with thinking that maybe it’s MY problem and make sure they understand what we’re all about!





About the Author

Greg is a children’s ministry veteran of over 25 years who blogs at 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://Facebook/com/ChildrensMinistryLeader