When directing a cm that had a director before you – how to unify the cm vision

Your Question:

“I am directing a CM that has had a CM director before me. How do I unify our CM purpose or vision?”

The Issues:

If there is no vision oversight, it can be easy to let the CM get distracted into getting involved in too many programs that don’t relate to a unified purpose. A CM vision or purpose statement should protect the ministry from bogging down with too many unrelated efforts. Organizing a CM that has lost its unifying focus can take time. It may involve ending programs that don’t further the vision or beginning new programs that do.

Scripture Foundation:

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28: 19, 20

Short Answer:

Leading a CM that has been operating without a unifying CM vision can be frustrating. A clear CM vision gives “boundaries” and direction to the CM curriculum, programs, team development, the safety policies, and even the budget.  Focusing the CM on the CM vision is much like putting “blinders” on a horse that is pulling a cart or racing other horses. Blinders keep the horse from being distracted by what is going on around him. It helps the horse focus on the racetrack, the road in front of him, or the field he’s plowing. If your CM vision either doesn’t exist, or it isn’t clearly being used as a foundation for the ministry, there are things you can do right away to add some “blinders” to the ministry in order to correct that situation.

The first thing to do is to pray! The ministry vision comes from God, not from books, conferences, or podcasts.  God can use all of those things, but He personalizes what He wants you to accomplish to suit your particular church and community. He has called you to lead the ministry because of who you are, what you’ve experienced, and where He wants the ministry to “go.” Ask Him to make it clear to you what His vision is for the CM.  He may use others to guide you (Proverbs 15:22), specific scriptures, your own passions, and your perception of what the church and community needs. Your search for a clear CM vision may take days, or it may happen quickly.  The “Great Commission,” as Jesus stated it in Matthew 28: 19-20, is the basic foundation for all children’s ministries in every local church.  How the Great Commission is expressed or “played out” is unique in your particular community. Your community’s ethnic, economic, and demographic conditions effect the vision that He will give you to accomplish. If your church has a vision statement, you can adopt it and adjust it to suit the children’s ministry. 

The next thing to do is to write the CM vision into a concise statement that clearly represents what the Lord wants you to accomplish, and how you will accomplish it. This statement might be something like this: “The children’s ministry of (name of church) exists to create a desire for a personal relationship with God in the lives of children through stimulating programs, life-changing mentors, and spiritually strong parents.” The vision statement should be short enough to recite from memory. Another example might be: Drawing children to God, leading them to fruitfulness.” Once you have a clear vision statement, share it with your ministry supervisor and the senior pastor.  They need to know what the foundation for the CM will be because you may need to end or significantly adjust some ministry efforts. 

After your ministry supervisor and senior pastor understand the CM vision, gather two or three of your prominent CM team members for coffee. Share the vision statement with them. Tell them you have invited them to help you work on focusing what is done in the ministry to the CM vision. Ask them to help you review the CM programs, team training, curriculum, and other CM efforts in light of the CM vision. Let them know that this process will take time, and that you are going to announce this process in an upcoming all-team meeting soon.

Schedule an all-team mandatory meeting to share the vision.  This gathering should happen at a time that is best for most of the CM team members.  It might be right after the last service on a Sunday morning. Try to avoid holding this meeting on Saturday or at a weekday evening.  To increase the positive attraction for the meeting, incorporate food! This can be an entire meal (lunch), or just some goodies and drinks. If you hold this meeting after the last service on a Sunday morning, you’ll have to offer a lunch! Make this gathering open to all family members, so you don’t have to use any of your CM team to care for the children. During the meeting, show a slideshow of pictures of the CM team “in action” during a service. This show should loop and include some inspirational background music. After you’ve given them enough time to enjoy the meal, thank them for coming and introduce the new CM vision. (If the CM has always had a vision statement, and you don’t have to adjust it, use that statement.) After highlighting the vision statement, share your desire to let the vision guide everything in the ministry.  Introduce the CM leaders who will assist in focusing the CM to the vision. Let the entire CM team know that this process may affect the curriculum, the team training, what happens during programs, the use of the facility, policies and procedures, and even the budget. Invite the team to share their ideas or views with you via email. 

After the all-team gathering, put what you talked about in an email that will go out to the entire team (and to those who weren’t able to attend the meeting).  Once this part of the process is over, you can begin working to organize and focus all that is done in the CM to the CM vision.  For more help, click on the links below.

Visit other articles in the “Leading The Ministry” APPENDIX

Back to the “Leading The Ministry: New Job, Old Position” page. 

Support those who serve on your children's ministry team