An effective coordinator will encourage all children in the congregation and community to grow in faith as Christian disciples. The coordinator will work with other church and community leaders to address the needs of children so that all God’s children grow in strength and wisdom.
What's My Job?
As Coordinator of Children’s Ministries, you are “responsible for assuring that children are considered and included within the life of the congregation. The coordinator will lead the children’s council, when organized, and will work closely with clergy and other program-related staff. The coordinator will vision, plan, and advocate for children, particularly in the areas of faith development, safety, and discipleship. The coordinator will work with other leaders in the congregation to assure that policies and procedures are in place to help keep all children and the adults who care for and work with them safe.” These policies and procedures include such things as background checks, having at least two adults per group, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first-aid training. “The coordinator will also advocate for mission education for children, including The United Methodist Children’s Fund for Christian Mission” (Discipline, ¶ 256.2a).
Spiritual Gifts and Qualifications Helpful for the Job
- A children’s coordinator benefits from having a combination of these spiritual gifts: servanthood, teaching, exhortation (encouragement), leadership, administration, and shepherding. This leader should show evidence of passion for ministry with children and deep commitment to faith formation of children, prior effective ministry leadership, and evidence of active and growing discipleship. This person should demonstrate at least a basic knowledge of child development and understand the importance of providing a safe and nurturing environment for children.
- Useful skills for this position are the ability to listen to and communicate with people of all ages, the ability to work with other ministry leaders, the ability to delegate responsibility and to follow up to complete tasks.
- This leader should show genuine interest in responding to the hopes, needs, and concerns of children in the community.
Responsibilities of the Position
- The coordinator of children’s ministry will be attentive to the hopes, concerns, and needs of children in the community to determine how the congregation might serve them and their families and how they might serve one another as Christian disciples and good neighbors. The coordinator should identify key people in the congregation and community who are advocates for children’s needs and issues.
- The coordinator needs to be familiar with the congregation’s overall goals and how they are achieved through the congregation’s ministry by, with, and for children and their families. This leader should pray intentionally for children and their families.
- This leader will advocate that all children are welcome and expected to be fully engaged in the ministries of the church.
- The coordinator will work with others to plan and carry out a comprehensive program for children that includes worship, study, fellowship, service experiences, and other experiences that guide children as they grow in faith. The coordinator will advocate for quality leadership and ample funding.
- The coordinator will lead the church in creating and annually updating Safe Sanctuaries policies and guidelines and living into them as a community of nurture.
- The coordinator will regularly and intentionally communicate with parents, families, and children’s ministry leaders in other churches, denominations, and non-profits, so that children have multiple opportunities to thrive.
- The coordinator will guide the work of the children’s council (if organized) throughout the year, including organizing and presiding at its meetings. If there is no council, the coordinator will keep an overall perspective of a quality, comprehensive ministry.
- The coordinator will work with other leaders to develop and secure theologically aligned and developmentally appropriate resources and curriculum that support the work of teachers and group leaders in ministry with children.
- The coordinator is encouraged to maintain a healthy and growing personal spiritual life and to lead others to do the same.
- The coordinator is accountable to the charge conference through the church council.
- Encourage the adults in the congregation to know the names of the children in the congregation, to address them by name, and to take an interest in their lives.
- Assess the gifts of the adults in your congregation. Organize a group of adults who show an interest in the needs of children. This can be organized as a children’s council (Book of Discipline). Gather together to assess the children’s ministry in your congregation, the outreach to children in the community, and to share hopes, concerns, and plans for your work. Share the ministry with others by delegating projects to people with particular gifts in the church or community.
- Create a calendar of experiences based on the liturgical calendar. Create a budget that supports a ministry that serves the needs of children. Provide opportunities for leaders to stay updated on how the church may best serve the needs of children.
- Study and use Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation, 2017-2020: Children’s Ministries.
Connecting with Others Who Support Your Ministry
- In the Congregation: The pastor, members of the congregation, children and youth, and church staff
- In the Community: Neighboring United Methodist churches, children’s ministers in other church denominations, nonprofit organizations, and civic organizations
- In the United Methodist Connection: District leaders, annual conference leaders, and denominational organizations (UMC.org)
Resources That Support Your Ministry
- Afterschool Alliance (afterschoolalliance.org) – Support for ensuring that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs
- Baptism: Understanding God’s Gift by Edward and Sara Webb Phillips (Upper Room Books, 2014) – A study on baptism for parents and guardians
- The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2016 (Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 2016)
- Child Care and the Church (www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/child-care-and-the-united-methodist-church-a-policy-statement) –The United Methodist Church’s responsibilities in initiating, encouraging, and participating in the highest quality child care
- Children’s Defense Fund - childrensdefense.org – Resources to support advocating for the rights of children in the United States
- Children’s Fund for Christian Mission (www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/childrens-fund-for-christian-mission) – Ministry that helps children learn about and participate in missions beyond the community
- Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church (www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/children)
- District Training Model in Ministry with Children (www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/ministry-with-children-district-leadership-training-model) - Covers the basics of the importance of ministry with children, including developmental, safety, and theological issues
- General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church (UMCMission.org)
- Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation, 2017-2020: Children’s Ministries (Cokesbury, 2016)
- Guidelines for Weekday Preschool in United Methodist Churches by Gail Callis, Lynne Paredes, and Melanie C Gordon (www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/guidelines-for-weekday-preschool-ministry-programs-in-united-methodist1) – Basic guidelines for effective weekday preschool ministry
- Including Special Needs Children in the Life of the Church by Elizabeth Christie (www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/including-special-needs-children-in-the-life-of-the-church)
- InfoServ - provides current information about United Methodist resources, programs, and staff services. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: infoserv.umc.org.
- Pockets Magazine (pockets.upperroom.org), devotional magazine for children
- Retaining Servant Team Members in Children’s Ministry by Kelly Duke (www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/retaining-servant-team-members)
- Safe Sanctuaries Policies, Guidelines, and Procedures (www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/safe-sanctuaries) – Resources that support the United Methodist commitment to reducing the risk of abuse in the church
- United Methodist Association of Preschools-Florida (umapfl.com) – Information and support for national accreditation for weekday preschool ministry
- United Methodist Committee on Relief (www.umcor.org) – Relief supply kits help provide care for the most vulnerable people during times of crisis.
- United Methodist Endorsed Curriculum – Look for the UMC cross and flame at cokesbury.com
- United Methodist Ministry with Children Resource Blog (ministrywithchildren.com) – Addresses current needs and resources for children’s ministry programming
- What Every Child Should Experience: A Guide for Leaders and Teachers in United Methodist Congregations by Melanie C. Gordon (www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/what-every-child-should-experience) - Comprehensive charts that address the cognitive and theological needs of children and the concepts they can understand at different stages of development