The Local Children’s Discipleship Ministries Coordinator/Pastor
This person’s task is to train, equip, and support children’s workers in their ministries. He or she also coordinates the comprehensive and dynamic ministry for children. Part of this role includes working with and leading and training others to be a part of the team in disciple-making. This person is also responsible for ensuring all local and state precautions are taken for the safety of children and volunteers. See Nazarene Safe https://nazarenesafe.org/.
The role of Children’s Ministries Coordinator/Pastor is essential for the health of the children. See the responsibilities below:
Children Ministries Coordinator/Pastor Responsibilities
The primary responsibilities of the Children’s Ministries Coordinator/ Pastor are guiding the local discipleship of children and enabling them to be disciple makers. Here are some of the leadership activities.
- Chair the Children’s council/team.
- Lead the council to organize, promote, and coordinate children’s Sunday School and all other ministries for children.
- Submit an annual budget request, administer funds according to approved budget guidelines, and keep a detailed record of expenditures.
- Recruit and train Children’s workers, leaders, and teachers, including background checks and required other safety trainings.
- Ensure all curriculum and programing is in line with the Nazarene doctrine.
- Promote numerical growth in the Children’s Ministries.
- Lead the Children’s Council/team to develop and carry out additional ministries for children as needs arise and staff and resources are available, such as: Sunday, weekday, annual, special ministries, outreach, discipleship, ministries to children with special needs, and fellowship activities.
- Provide ongoing leadership training for children’s workers.
- Oversee all comprehensive and dynamic ministry components.
- Submit a regular report (e. g. monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.) for all other children’s ministry activities to whomever requires it (e.g. board, lead pastor, NDI president).
- Create and work from an annual calendar.
The process of electing the Children’s Discipleship Ministries coordinator/pastor is in the Church of the Nazarene Manual, par. 155 – 159.1.
NOTE: When a pastor to children is employed in a church, the pastor, in consultation with the church board and the NDI Board, assigns the responsibility for children to the children’s pastor. In that case, the children’s pastor carries out some of the duties otherwise designated to a local children’s ministries coordinator. However, the importance of the children’s ministries coordinator remains to provide vital lay leadership support and representation for local children’s ministries.
The Local Children’s Discipleship Ministries Council
It is important for the health of the children’s ministry to establish a council or team of volunteers/ leaders to oversee all ministry to children and to support the implementation of classes and programs to fulfill the 5 core principles of NDI.
The council provides direction, support, and resourcing:
- To fulfill the Great Commission by planning and carrying out a coordinated and comprehensive ministry strategy for discipling children.
- To train and resource local children’s volunteers to minister effectively to children by providing information, training, encouragement, and material resources.
- To coordinate the Christian education of children with other programs and ministries of the local church to ensure that the local church’s ministry to children will reflect the mission and goals of the Church of the Nazarene
- To cooperate with district efforts to provide expanded ministry to children.
Tips on Running a Council/Team Meeting
Remember, it is important to have a council or team because:
- Many heads are better than one when planning ministries to children
- Many hands make lighter work
- Using a team strengthens the coordination of children’s ministry
How Often Should the Council Meet?
The first meeting should take place as soon as possible after the team has been created. Allow plenty of time for this meeting, since it will serve as the al meeting for the year. Following the al meeting, the council should meet regularly. This allows the group to:
- Refine and complete plans made in previous meetings
- Discuss and develop new ideas as needed
- Work steadily on long-range goals and objectives
What Should Happen in a Meeting?
The Children’s Ministry Leader/Pastor chairs all meetings. This person prepares an agenda for each meeting, in consultation with what other members believe need to be included.
Examples of regular business items for meetings are:
- Share spiritual concerns and pray together
- It is important to remember that the council/team consists of people who have real spiritual needs. These concerns and prayers can be personal and ministry related.
Assess the needs of the children in the church
The council/team should discuss the needs of the children and children’s workers. The below questions are examples that can guide the discussion:
- Does our church provide a comprehensive and dynamic discipleship ministry to our children?
- Do our ministries meet the known needs of our children?
- Do our workers/ disciple makers effectively reach out to both unchurched and churched children?
- How can we strengthen our outreach to children?
- What activities would strengthen our ministry to children and their families?
- Are we resourcing guardians as the main spiritual leaders in their children’s lives?
- Are our workers/ disciple makers happy in their assignments?
- What can we do to improve morale and personal satisfaction in their ministry roles?
- What training do our workers/disciple makers need, and how can we best provide it?
Develop and refine the Children’s Ministries calendar.
The council/team is tasked with determining what ministries and activities the church will provide for the year. They will determine when the church will conduct the special events it plans. Give careful, prayerful attention to these tasks.
It can be helpful to begin this conversation with a “no holds barred” brainstorming session. Consider every possible ministry and activity idea. It is important to consider every option before beginning the process of evaluation and selection.
Once the group has created a list of possible ministries and activities, evaluate each idea.
Ask questions like:
- What is the strength of this ministry/activity/event? What need(s) does it meet for our children or children’s workers? Does it fulfill our mission and vision?
- Does this ministry/activity/event complement or compete with others we now have or are considering?
- What will this ministry/activity/event cost? Where can we get the funds?
- Do we have or can we provide—the space and supplies this ministry/activity/event needs?
- Do we have enough workers to carry out this ministry/ activity/event? Will doing this overload the workers we have, possibly causing burnout?
- Is there room on our calendar for this ministry/activity/event?
Based on answers to these and related questions, the council/ team can develop its plan for the year. Plan ways to train and communicate with all Children’s Ministries workers. Training workers and communicating with them regularly are key factors for successful children’s ministries. As the council/team considers training and communication options, they should ask questions like:
- What kinds of training do our children’s workers need?
- What kinds of training do our children need?
- What forms of training and communication can we provide (workshops, videos, digital, etc.)
- What training resources do we have?
The budget request will flow out of the discussion of the items before and the needed supplies listed following:
- Curriculum and supplies
- Communication and media needs
- Discipleship and outreach needs
- Awards and prizes
- Decorations and environment
As the council/team develops its plans, it should assign responsibilities for carrying out the work. Usually one member has primary responsibility for a ministry, activity, event under his or her ministry. List what needs to be done, and agree on assignments.
Evaluate ministries and activities.
Some evaluation will occur spontaneously during the year as the council/team develops and refines its ministries calendar. However, the group should also plan a formal evaluation at the end of or the beginning of the following year. In this more detailed evaluation, council members should compare what they hoped would happen with what actually happened. Here are suggested questions to consider:
- Did this ministry/activity/event achieve the goals we set for it? Why, or why not?
- How well did children respond to the ministry/activity/event? How did adults respond?
- What were the strong points of this ministry/activity/event? Can we improve upon these for the future?
- What weaknesses or problems did we notice in this ministry/activity/event? How can we correct them in the future?
- Should we use this ministry/activity/event again next year? Why, or why not?
First Meeting of the Year:
- Introductions of new council members
- Brief review of last year’s ministries, activities and events
- Evaluation of last year’s ministries if this was not done in the final meeting of the last year
- Needs assessment for the coming year
- Budget requests
- Beginning work on new calendar
- Brainstorm ideas for specific ministries/activities/events. (Spend extra time on ministries/ activities/events that will take place before the next meeting.)
- Closing prayer
- Progress reports by council members
- Evaluation: check to see that planned ministries and activities continue to meet needs or are falling into place as needed. In the final meeting, evaluate the year and the council’s work.
- Brainstorm ideas for specific ministries/activities/events.
- Flesh out or revise plans developed earlier. Give the most attention to ministries/activities/ events that will take place before the next meeting.
- Closing prayer
Examples of Positions/Coordinators in Children’s Ministry
- Represent Caravan and its interests at all Council/team meetings by sharing Caravan plans and requesting approval for necessary ministries, events, projects
- Become familiar with the Caravan ministry and to provide all training materials produced by the global Caravan office
- Submit an annual budget request to the Children’s Ministry leader/pastor, to administer funds according to approved budget guidelines, and keep a detailed record of expenditures
- Resource your local Caravan ministry via the Foundry Publishing
- Determine the number of Caravan groups the church will sponsor
- Recruit and train workers for those groups, in cooperation with the CMI Council
- Submit an order for Caravan books, badges, uniform items, and supplies, in consultation with the children’s Coordinator, following established procedures
- Operate the local Caravan ministry as defined in the official Caravan books and materials
- Plan a weekly group opening or closing for the combined Benson’s Buddies, Searcher, Explorer, and Adventurer groups
- Promote the Caravan ministry in the local church
- Set up and chair an operating Caravan Committee
- Present top Caravan awards (Bunker, Winans, Lillenas, Bresee) based on global church requirements
- Plan and direct all local Caravan ceremonies
- Keep an ongoing file of each child’s record forms showing the progress the child is making toward earning the Bunker, Winans, Lillenas, and Bresee awards
- Prepare an end-of-the-year report for the Children’s Ministry Council/team.
Children’s Mission Education Coordinator
The responsibilities of the children’s mission education Coordinator are to:
- Represent children’s mission education and its interests at all Children’s’ Ministry Council/ team meetings
- Become thoroughly familiar with the children’s mission education ministry and curriculum
- Submit an order for children’s mission education curriculum and supplies, in consultation with the children’s Coordinator and NMI president, following established procedures
- Coordinate all children’s mission education activities with NMI programs by serving on the local NMI Council
- Promote the mission education program for children in the local church
- Promote the children’s mission reading books and keep accurate records of books read
- Cooperate with the district children’s mission education Coordinator to promote district- wide activities in the local church (such as district mission rallies, offering projects, and end- of- year reporting)
- Submit an end-of-year report to the Children’s Ministry Council/team.