Have you ever had one of those days in Children's Ministry when everything went wrong? I sure have. Several years ago I was leading our kindergarten through second grade room during a Saturday night service, and it was a train wreck.
Our electronic check-in system went down. Our video projector wouldn't work, and we had the wrong week's supplies in the small group leaders' activity baskets.
Pretty much everything that could go wrong went wrong that night. Except for one thing.
I had a room full of awesome leaders, and that's what made all the difference.
They stood by malfunctioning computers and manually checked kids in with paper tags. They went through all the supplies and figured out how to adapt the lesson with what we had available, and they bought me enough time to figure out how to fix the projector.
That Saturday night turned out to be one the best kids' services I've ever experienced, not because everything went right but because we had the people who could make things right when all the other systems failed.
Many of us who lead in Children's Ministry are easily distracted by the latest and the greatest. We dream about having bigger rooms, state-of-the-art tech, Disney-esque decor and the coolest new curriculum. We obsess over systems and processes that would make Sundays smoother, safer and more efficient.
And those are all good things. They're helpful tools that can set leaders up to win. But without the right leaders in the room, none of those things really work. At the end of the day we stand or fall on the quality and quantity of our volunteers.
I'm not much of a betting guy, but if I had to put all my chips in one place in Children's Ministry, it would be in developing leaders every time. I know that other stuff comes and goes. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. But if I have enough leaders in the room who love Jesus and kids, it's going to be great day in Children's Ministry.
And yet, my calendar doesn't always reflect that. I don't always make time for people. I don't always think through how the decisions I'm making will affect volunteers on Sunday. But I'm trying. I'm taking steps. I'm spending more time watching our services through a leader's point-of-view, more time asking people how the tools we give them are working for them and more time just sitting down with leaders and talking.
How about you? Are you all in with volunteers? Or are you placing you bets elsewhere? What's one thing you could do this week to make your leaders a bigger priority?