One of the most fun and unique parts of our church is that we currently have 17 children represented on our staff team. That is nearly 10% of our church just on our staff kids! It is our constant consideration in all of our decisions…as you can imagine! It also changes the way we lead. The simple fact is that if we want husband and wife teams in ministry, we need a plan for children at every service, staff meeting, retreat, etc.
These awesome kids are at our church (on a weekly basis) for three services and some of them at youth services as well. They are at worship practice, staff meetings, and all activities. Because of this issue we do several things to ease the weight of being pastor’s kids and to make it fun. Here’s some ways that we manage:
1. Our kids attend one kid’s service, “work” one service, and play in “the Lounge” for one service. Every once in a while we have them attend an additional service to be with a friend, but most of the time we give them the freedom to choose where they want to be.
2. Our kids come in and out of staff meeting “family” style. Yes, it’s distracting sometimes, but it’s the reality we are living in. Even with a babysitter, there are still times when a child needs a parent…particularily incidents involving duct tape…that’s another post! We often times have a baby sitting on a lap and a toddler asleep on the couch…we just keep working through it because a greater value than order is having men and women at the table and without constantly sending our kids off to be cared for by other people while we “do” ministry.
3. The Lounge is a room dedicated to taking a break. There’s a huge TV, popcorn, video games, toys, coloring books, etc. It’s OK if our kids are just playing during one of our church services. As long as they attend one service a weekend, they have the opportunity to hang out with their friends and just have a good time. Often times I walk in the lounge and six kids are lined up on the couch as tight as sardines!
4. Our kids fight like brothers and sisters, but they also care for each other like brothers and sisters. Many of them have been around each other since birth or toddlerhood. As a staff, we correct, love, laugh with, and reprimand each other’s kids all of the time. Those kids have about 6 sets of parents wherever they go. We all take responsibility for each other’s children when we see them doing something good or naughty!
I realize that the chaos that surrounds our team isn’t for every situation, but it’s one of my favorite parts of North Creek. I love those kids and I want nothing more than for them to LOVE church planting and ministry. There are seasons when I am sure that’s not the case, but I hope the memories they are creating together will wash away the hard parts! I look forward to the days when God calls them to their own mission, when they fall in love (perhaps with each other), and when the future looks different because they are molding it! Our kids have always been on the front lines of ministry and they always will be…