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Three Leadership Pitfalls (and How to Avoid Them)

When I first entered into children’s ministry leadership was not a top priority. I was consumed with finding pre-service games, recruiting large group communicators, and making sure there were enough supplies for every small group.

What I didn’t realize (for far too long) is that leadership is key to a successful children’s ministry. And I fell into a bunch of leadership pitfalls. Here are three that I experienced and how to avoid them.

1. Not Providing Feedback

Your volunteers need feedback. They need coaching.

I once had a large group communicator who did not come prepared – but he was so nice I didn’t want to push him on his preparation.

I was wrong. His lack of preparation was doing a disservice to the children in our ministry. They were bored and disengaged. I scheduled him as infrequently as I could without “firing” him as a volunteer when, really, I just needed to coach him and give him feedback. I don’t know if he would have improved or if he would have stepped out of serving, but either way, it was my responsibility, as his leader, to set the expectations and coach him.

Don’t be afraid to give feedback to your volunteers. Celebrate what they’re doing well and suggest how they can improve. Your role as a leader is not to coddle egos – it’s to serve children. So, set your volunteers up for success by giving them honest feedback.

2. Not Making Time for Your Team

Our teams are more than “warm bodies.” Yes, we need volunteers. We need to fill the holes in our schedules. But we have an incredible opportunity to lead and guide not only our children but our volunteers as well.

Ask your team to arrive at least 15 minutes before you start checking in kids. Use that time to not only review the service plan but also to get to know your team, to share prayer requests, and to train and coach. In the GO! Curriculum, every lesson comes with a Skill Builder Training so you can invest into your volunteers in a short amount of time. See some examples here.

Love and care for them as much as you do the children in your ministry. They can’t give what they don’t have. Give them everything you want them to impart to your kids. Love. Patience. Attention. Grace. Don’t get so caught up in your weekend checklists that you don’t make time to pour into your team.

3. Not Delegating

We addressed this in a previous post [Insert Link] – but it’s worth repeating. You for certain have volunteers in your ministry that want ownership. So, give them ownership! If you don’t have a staff administrator dedicated to your ministry, recruit a volunteer to handle scheduling or supplies. If you have a really gifted large group communicator, entrust them with coaching other large group communicators. You don’t have to do it all. In fact, you shouldn’t.

We may be called to vocational ministry – but every one of our volunteers is called to ministry, too. Let them be a part of it. Let them speak into what you’re doing. Ask them to contribute. Give them responsibility in the areas that they’re gifted and passionate.

There are a ton of leadership pitfalls that can cripple our impact – but these are three big ones. Don’t let them derail you.

Have a great week!

David Rausch and the GO! Team



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