In children’s ministry, we’re always recruiting. We’re always looking for new faces to fit into our classrooms. When I started out in children’s ministry, I primarily looked within the ranks of parents and grandparents to fill our roles. Our rooms are still mostly staffed by people who’ve finished high school, but in the last couple of years we’ve started finding more high school students to step into our leader roles. It’s been awesome, and here’s three reasons I’ve found to try and increase the numbers of teenagers helping out in your ministry.
- They are fun! Let’s face it, sometimes we “serious adults” struggle to be goofy or silly. Teenagers, on the other hand, often dive right in. Sure, some of them still wearing their “cool” personas, but I’ve noticed that once they wear off, teenagers often engage well with the kids at their level.
- They are cool. I don’t know why this is the case, but nobody is cooler to an elementary school student than a high schooler. When you’re in elementary school, you just figure that the kids older than you know so much about life, each other, and math. (When you get there of course, it’s just a tsunami of awkward – but 3rd graders don’t know that!). It’s fun to see how much elementary schoolers try to connect with their high school leaders, because in their world they are amazing.
- They tend to take it seriously. We’ve all dealt with the volunteers who neglect to prepare, forget to show, etc. In my experience, high schoolers aren’t immune to these pratfalls, but they happen less. To me that’s counter-intuitive, but as I’ve interacted with them I think the reason they take their ministries seriously is because it’s one of their first opportunities to stretch out and explore the gifts that God has given them. In my experience they can be absent minded- but they give it a lot of energy. In fact, I’ve been put to shame a few times when my teachers walk into the room and ask me questions about the lesson that I don’t have an answer to. I’m always happy to see how much they prepare.
- It’s about the long-term. It’s about more than simply being a leader in a children’s room, it’s about teaching people at the earliest age possible that God wants them to put their abilities to good use. It’s sad to see adults who don’t know where to start, and that’s why it’s so good to teach your teenagers what it looks like to invest in God’s kingdom.
So what about you? How do you best utilize the teenagers in your church?