My Ministry Setting is Large

Your Question:

“How can I best serve in a large ministry setting?”

The Issues:

A large church or children’s ministry (CM) usually has a large budget. It usually has a larger “pool” of potential volunteers.  The challenge in a large ministry is to trust in God’s provision, rather than in your budget or recruiting processes.

Scripture Foundation:

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”   Psalm 121: 1, 2

Short Answer:

In the early days of the ministry, you may have relying on God for everything. You were “on your knees” about the supplies and the team members you needed. The budget was little, if any, but your trust and passion for God’s provision was big.  As the church and CM grows, your trust may have shifted from God’s provision to your budget’s increase. This “reality check” is what the writer of Psalm 121 might have been depicting.  Instead of looking for help from an army that comes over the mountain (or through your budget), we are encouraged to remember that our help comes from the Lord. 


If God chooses to provide an army coming over the hills, or a strong CM budget, that’s wonderful.  But if He doesn’t provide obvious help from an army of volunteers or a growing budget, our trust must be in His provision, not in what we can physically see.


It might be more challenging to serve in a large ministry than in a smaller one.  In a small ministry, every dream or event may need a miracle of God’s provision, but in a large ministry, God may not even be needed because of the large budget and strong team of CM team members. So, how can you best serve in a large ministry setting?  To remain “on your knees” about your dreams or plans, always looking not to the “hills,” but trusting and thanking God for everything you have.  If your spiritual perspective is correct, then you can move forward based on your ministry vision and what God has called you to do. 


In a large ministry, you might be tempted to “do everything” that comes your way.  Since you have a strong budget and a large CM team, you might be tempted to add programs, or outreaches that don’t necessarily “fit” your ministry vision.  In a large ministry it is possibly more important to focus your ministry efforts on your CM vision.  If you need to clarify or establish your CM vision, see the section in the website about Creating or Focusing Your Ministry Vision.


In are large ministry, you should regularly ask yourself and your leadership team, “Even though we can do this event, should we?” It is always easier to “prune” a program or event before it is established, than trying to “prune” a program or event after it has already started. So, planning carefully is a critical part of serving in a large ministry.  Careful planning requires a larger leadership team.  If you are serving as the only leader, this might be a dangerous structure.  A larger ministry needs a larger leadership team. A good “mile marker” for when you need to increase your leadership team is when you cannot name each of the CM volunteers by name.  When the ministry grows to the point where the CM team is larger than what you can personally encourage, you need more leaders to share in the responsibility of leading the ministry.  A large ministry must have multiple leaders. The structure of the CM leadership must include a director, an administrative assistant, and a staff of area coordinators who supervise specific ministry areas and groups of team members. This staff must be a paid staff.  Many churches make the mistake of continuing to expect volunteers to serve as leaders. In a small ministry, possibly everyone is a volunteer because there wasn’t the financial support to provide for a paid staff. As the ministry grows, the leadership expectations increase beyond what you can expect volunteers to fulfil.  See the “Leading The Ministry – APPENDIX” for help in developing a paid leadership team.


In a large ministry, it is also more important to regularly evaluate what you do for the children. Since you are spending more money, and have more CM team members, it is critical that you evaluate your programs, curriculum, CM team training, and also what you do for the parents on a regular basis. A small ministry needs to evaluate what is being done in the CM, but a large ministry must evaluate more specifically. Use the CM vision as a major tool or “filter” for your evaluations. Does the curriculum you use further the CM vision?  Does your communication with and support for the parents effectively support the CM vision? Does each program or event enhance the CM vision?  Is your CM team training focused on the vision?  This evaluation should happen yearly. A good time to do this is before you need to purchase the curriculum or set your year’s events on the overall church calendar.  If your yearly budget has a date for proposal, that might also be a targeted deadline for your CM evaluations.


In a larger ministry, communication to the CM team, the parents, the general church attendance, and the church staff must also be increased and focused. In a small church or ministry communication can be less formal and planned, but in a larger ministry, since there are more people involved, communication must be planned and done professionally.  In today’s world, the use of online communication or smartphone apps enhances communication avenues, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to utilize slides and announcements in the church service, email communications, posters in the hallways, and personal communication during check-in and check-out.  This is a good leadership position to establish and fill with a very good communicator.  The “Communications Coordinator” will focus his/her attention solely on making sure the CM team, the parents, and the church know what is happening.


It is a blessing to serve in a large ministry, but with the increased size comes increased responsibilities and expectations. For more help in understanding the setting of the children’s ministry, click on the APPENDIX link below.

Visit other articles in the “Understanding Your Ministry Setting APPENDIX”

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