the shape of leadership

Engaging and Involving your Kids in Ministry

Turning a possible obstacle into an incredible opportunity

Chris Railey on July 6, 2018


Last week we talked about the unique challenges your kids face. The children of ministers grow up in different circumstances than many of their peers. Some may find their situation restrictive compared to other kids their age. For others, being a minister’s kid is a big advantage.

My prayer is that every child of a minister would see the positives in ministry. I know that’s not always the case. When it comes to schedules, your children are often at every service each weekend and at every event your church hosts, no matter what. The long hours, the possible interruptions to family life, and the higher standard to which others may hold your children can lead some ministry kids to disengage from church.

When you create space for your kids to be engaged and involved in church, God will do amazing things.

Our churches can be a place of growth for our kids, whether they attend every service or not. I’m a big proponent of letting kids be kids, allowing them space to grow and giving them the option of skipping when necessary. But when they’re in church, I know I want my kids to be fully a part of what’s happening.

The Role of the Church in the Life of Your Child

God has a plan for each of His children, and that certainly includes yours. Their local church is the primary place they will find and follow that plan. The unique nature of growing up in ministry, though, means we sometimes have to go the extra mile to keep our children emotionally and spiritually healthy.

Creating a space for your child to grow will take an intentional effort. Here are two questions you need to ask as you lead them to be all they can be in God.

1. How Do You Engage Your Kids in Ministry?

If your children are under the age of 16, they are likely with you all day long on Sundays. You show up early, and they catch a ride with you. You have to stay late, and so do they. Out of necessity, they are at every service. And if your church has multiple service times, they’re attending each one.

No matter how great your worship service is, attending the same service multiple times each weekend can get monotonous. The last thing we want is for ministry kids to be bored in church.

Instead, create environments in your church for ministry kids. These are also spaces for the children of your regular volunteers and key leaders. If you are asking your people to come to a service and serve at a service, their children are right there with them. If they don’t serve alongside their parents, they are attending a repeat worship time.

That additional environment can be unstructured play, small-group driven, or free time. The point is not to babysit your ministry kids but to give them something different, adding variety to their church experience. Find key leaders who love to spend time with kids and are willing to invest in their lives.

“Spoil” your ministry kids by making church special and out of the ordinary. How about hosting a special service just for them? Allow them access to places that are off-limits to other kids: the green room, back stage or in your own office. Those spaces are not meant for every attender, but ministry kids can have special access in the right conditions. It will make them feel they have a special part in church and help them better engage.

2. How Do You Involve Your Kids in Ministry?

Whatever you plan on doing, don’t let them just sit there. Church becomes boring when all we do is sit and listen. But when we get involved, it takes on a new excitement.

How is your discipleship pathway geared toward children and young people? What is the minimum age requirement? If it’s for adults only, then you need to find a way to adapt your plan to school-age kids and youth.

Start with your ministry kids. It’s never too early to help them through spiritual gift inventories to find their specific skillset. Then find ways to channel their gifts in the church. Let them go at their own pace, but make sure they understand how to exercise their own gifts.

Create spaces where kids can get involved in ministry. It may require them serving alongside a parent or other adult, but that’s OK. There are some legal guidelines that need to be addressed when deciding how to make this work, but don’t let that be an obstacle to getting your kids involved.

The Potential of Ministry Kids

It is not true that every child of a pastor will be called into ministry. But you and I both know that there is something special that happens in their hearts as they grow up watching their parents serve. There is an increased likelihood that they could go on to become leaders in their own churches later in life.

That potential is present early on in their lives. It doesn’t just magically appear when they turn 18. We, as ministry parents, need to be involved in their lives early and often, asking them about their faith, encouraging them in their discipleship and getting curious about their interests and gifts. When we do, we release the potential within them.

It’s easy to see certain parts of the church as an obstacle for your kid. Don’t do it. Instead, find ways to turn these unique circumstances into opportunities. When you create space for your kids to be engaged and involved in church, God will do amazing things. When we get our kids into the presence of the Holy Spirit, He can start to work on their hearts. It’s all about putting them in position to succeed.


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