When I started out in kidmin, I likened myself to a sponge. I wanted to soak up as much knowledge as I could. I also deeply craved being around other leaders who did what I did. I learned so much from listening to and engaging with other leaders – many of my own ideas were birthed as a result of being in such environments.
As the years have passed, the desire to be around other kidmin leaders hasn’t waned. In fact, it has increased! While I still love to learn and swap ideas, I now listen more intently to the heart of the leaders. We share the same challenges and disappointments. We are all trusting God to do big things through us for His glory. We are just trying to survive week to week!
Having my circle around me has made me a better leader. One piece of advice I always give to new ministry leaders or those having a rough time is GET AROUND OTHERS WHO DO WHAT YOU DO. Having a circle of support doesn’t mean you’re a weak leader; it helps make you a stronger one.
1. You can share in a safe place. Every leader needs a safe place to share frustrations, challenges and tears.
2. You can bounce ideas off of other brains. Some of my best ideas have come from a brainstorming session.
3. You can be supported in prayer. Ministry is hard work and can often be lonely. Having prayer support will be invaluable.
4. You can be affirmed. Sometimes when you hear what others are going through, you realize that your situation is not all that bad.
5. You can be challenged. You’ll hear other points of view and be challenged to think outside of the box. You might even be encouraged to take a risk. Being challenged might help you take the next step as a leader.
If you don’t know where to find that inner circle, here are a few suggestions:
Look within your church. There are people in your church who are passionate about kidmin, love and support you or both. This group might not ‘do what you do’ but they can be a great source of support for you. Keep them updated on ministry and personal needs.
Look within your community. Are there church leaders in your community who you can network with? I strongly believe that having a support system of like-minded people will be of great benefit to you. I am part of a network of leaders who meet quarterly but out of that group, I have connected with one leader in particular who meets with me once a month for lunch and fellowship. She is my kidmin sister and I always look forward to getting together with her. Don’t have a group nearby? Start one!
Look on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and CM Connect provides platforms for you to connect with other kidmin leaders.
- On Facebook, check out the following groups: The Kids Ministry Collective and Children’s Pastors and Children’s Ministries Leaders.
- On Twitter, search the following hashtags: #kidmin, #childrensministry and #fammin.
- Join CM Connect, a social network for Children’s Ministry Leaders.
Look within your denomination, if you’re part of one. Many denominations have Christian Education groups that meet regularly. If not, start one!
Look for discussion forums within other websites, like Kidology. You might also be able to find discussion forums for the curriculum that you use. Visit their website to see if one exists.
What have been effective ways for you to connect with other kidmin leaders?