The Senior Pastor or administrator discounts children’s ministry.
“How do I work with a senior pastor or administrator who discounts children’s ministry?”
You have been hired to serve under, and support, this senior pastor or administrator. This doesn’t mean that you must agree with everything he stands for, but it does mean that you must be respectful while carefully expressing your own views.
“Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it’” Luke 18:16-17
It is somewhat “normal” for an older adult to “discount” children. That doesn’t mean that it is a good thing, it just means that you will have to influence your senior pastor or administrator to value children. It is not easy to teach a senior pastor or administrator! It takes time and plenty of earned respect.
Consider the way any of humans learn to appreciate something. It is usually started by a relationship that is influential. If you encounter a friendly person who is kind and respectful to you, and who really enjoys baseball, you will probably be influenced by this person’s love for baseball. You may even go to a baseball game with this person because he/she is kind and friendly to you. This is an important principle to remember when trying to influence a person’s view about anything. You must first become a significant person in his/her life before you can ever influence his/her views or values.
Jesus influence on Matthew and Zacchaeus is a good example. In both cases, Jesus shared meals with these two “hardened” tax collectors. As a result of Jesus’ friendliness and respect, they both changed their perspectives on life. It is the same with a senior pastor or administrator who discounts the value of children. You must first become a significant person in his/her life! This is best done through respect and support!
Remember that you have been hired to “care for” the children. The senior pastor or administrator doesn’t want to be “bothered” by the children, but you can almost guarantee that he/she values their presence in the bigger picture of the church. So, don’t let yourself mentally disrespect this person just because he/she implies that children aren’t important. Your job is to do all you can to raise the importance of children in his/her mind.
To become a “significant person” in his/her life isn’t difficult, but it takes consistency. Some basic ways to do this are:
1) Compliment him/her on a sermon or meeting address;
2) Thank him/her for his/her leadership;
3) Share complimentary things you’ve heard or seen about his/her leadership or popularity;
4) Compliment him/her immediately when he/she says or does something that validates the value of children;
5) Send him/her periodic, short emails that share a story of a child or parent encounter in the CM that accentuates the value of the CM.
Let your conversation and attitude be positive and supportive as you ask God to build an influential relationship with the senior pastor or administrator. Be patient and kind as you consistently raise his/her awareness of the value of children. If you ever hear of a family who has chosen to go to a church based on the quality of the CM, make sure to share that story with the senior pastor or administrator. Be careful not to discount any other ministry or age-group in your quest to raise the value of children!