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4 Practices Every Children’s Ministry Leader Can’t Live Without

This post was written by Angie Hooie, a member of the INCM Blog team.

I’m just coming back from vacation to a pile on my desk and way too many emails! Do you ever feel like you’re drowning, and can’t catch your breath? No? I didn’t think so!

For all Children’s Ministry Leaders, we have so much to do. And the pace of ministry is typically speedy and never-ending. So how do we stay healthy to avoid burnout and quitting?

We need to look to our Savior for His example on how to be sustained in ministry. I believe by looking at Scripture and how Jesus led his life, we can create healthy habits in our life to live out the calling that He has placed on us.

Here are four habits we need to cultivate in our lives as we lead.

1. Sabbath

When I first started in vocational ministry, I kept hearing about Sabbath and didn’t really understand it. I read so many books on rest and Sabbath, knowing it was something that I needed to do.

I knew I needed to do it, was I doing it? NO WAY! I was TOO BUSY!

It wasn’t until I was “forced” to read The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Peter Scazzero that I understood the importance of the Sabbath. In his book, he discussed Sabbath as a core spiritual formation discipline, as opposed to legalism.

Even more, Sabbath is God’s good gift to his people (Deuteronomy 5:12, 15). Jesus said in Mark 2:27 – “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath.”

The most freeing thing that I learned from reading about Sabbath in Scazzero’s book is that my Sabbath doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s Sabbath.

The most important thing is to practice Sabbath. Did you catch the word practice? You get to practice Sabbath. Try a few things to see what gives you rest and restoration.

You may want to just lay in a hammock and read a book. You may be the type of person who wants to go for a drive in the mountains or go to the beach. I would suggest to you, if starting out practicing a 24 hour Sabbath feels uncomfortable or undoable, start with a 12 hour, and grow into a 24 hour Sabbath.

2. Prayer

Jesus is the Son of God, and yet he made it a priority to get away from all the noise and got alone with God and prayed (Mark 1:35). He was very intentional in modeling prayer for us as he taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer.

My personal prayer life has grown so much in the past few years. I would attribute that to the books Start with Amen by Beth Guckenberger, Transforming Prayer by Daniel Henderson, and A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller.

The only way that you get to know a person is by having a conversation with them and spending time with them. The same is true when it comes to knowing the heart of our personal Rabbi. We need to spend time in conversation with Him in prayer.

3. Scripture

Joshua 1:8 says, “The Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night.” The word meditate here in Hebrew is hagah.

I love the way that Beth Guckenberger explained it one year at CPC, that hagah is what happens when a lion eats its prey. We are to devour the Word. Jesus himself said in Matthew 4:4 that we shall not live by bread alone, but by the Word of God!

There are so many great tools out there to help us as we spend time in the Word such as She Reads Truth, He Reads Truth, The Bible Recap, and Keith Ferrin’s website. All of these have tremendous resources.

The more time that we spend in the Word, the more we know God’s voice. And when we know what God is saying for us to do and not do, we will say “yes” and “no” to what God wants us to do.

4. Community

We are not meant to run this race alone. When we are alone, we are opening ourselves up to attacks and lies of the enemy. The enemy is real, and prowling like a lion ready to take us out.

Jesus had his 12, and then his inner circle of 3. Who is the community that you are surrounding yourself with? Who are your three that you trust to share your real struggles with? 

My husband’s counselor asked him if he was stranded on the side of the road, who would he call to come rescue him (besides me of course)? That question will get you thinking.

If you haven’t found other leaders to share with yet, INCM has you covered. Become a member to connect with like-minded ministry leaders around the tools you need to be healthy and successful in ministry.

Children’s Ministry is the most strategic and futuristic ministry of the church. It needs healthy leaders like you. You need to take care of yourself and lead like Jesus. You need to walk so closely with our Rabbi, that you get His dust all over you.

You are not running this race alone. We’re cheering for you!  Get healthy and stay healthy, so you can stay in the race.


About Angie

Angie has been married for over 21 years, and has 3 kids. She has been volunteering in children’s ministry for over 20 years, and was called into vocational ministry 7 years ago. She oversees 3 campuses and has been deeply involved in growing and expanding her church’s special needs ministry.

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