When my husband first became one of the pastors at our church, I jumped on board to help with the children’s ministry. I wanted to contribute and help the other pastor’s wife by taking over Kids Church (the grade school Sunday bible study). This worked well for awhile, then I got pregnant with our second child and was still working full-time as weekday director (which was a whole other ministry). I ran Kids Church by myself and quickly burned out, even though I kept asking for help. Finally, before the birth of our daughter, I stepped away completely. I felt like such a failure. I felt like I disappointed everyone, but with a new baby, a toddler and still working full-time, I knew I couldn’t juggle it all.
Burn-out is so rampant in the ministry field. I think much of it comes from spreading ourselves too thin and not receiving the help we need, whether asked for or not. I think the best way we, in children’s ministry, can help avoid this burn-out is by working with a team. I did eventually return to help leading Kid’s Church after some time away, but I eased in. I also saw our volunteer student team working so well together and realized that was the missing piece. The kid’s team was nonexistent, everyone had been working solo. There was no team. We had preschool/nursery leaders and Kid’s Church. That was basically it. No meetings together, nothing being planned together. I saw how quickly I burned out and I didn’t want that for the other volunteer leadership.
In scripture, it’s pretty clear that God didn’t create us to work alone. He gave Adam a teammate for life in Eve and even Jesus himself had a crew he did ministry alongside. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 lays it out well: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Our KidMin leadership team was the missing piece to running a successful ministry. I mentioned the idea of creating a team and everyone jumped on board. I’ve mentioned this team in several posts before and they’ve not only been a blessing to our church, but a blessing to each other. We encourage, we pray and we laugh with one another. We do community together. This has opened doors to so much including vision planning for our ministry rather than week to week survival.
I share this to be a warning for those of you serving alone, whether as volunteers, bi-vocational or full-time: get a TEAM. You might not need it now, but you will need help. You will get burned out. I look back and think how silly it was that there was no team in place at the very beginning. So much frustration could have been avoided had we just worked together and had the support of one another. Don’t buy into the idea that teams are more “complicated” or harder to deal with. Spreading yourself too thin, becoming bitter and giving up are way harder issues to deal with than dealing with teammates. Pray for God to put the RIGHT people alongside you. Keep a small number on your team (we have five) and start meeting. Don’t KidMin alone! “Future you” will thank you for making that investment.
Thanks for letting me share,