1. Build solid connections with leadership. Set a weekly meeting time with your pastor. If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen.
2. Choose your battles carefully. As the old saying goes, “major on the major and minor on the minor.” I’ve been the children’s pastor at my church for 14 years and I still have to choose my battles carefully.
3. Set a pattern of God first, family second, and ministry third. You have to establish this pattern from week one. Guard your day off. Let your spouse and kids know that they are more important to you than your job.
4. Smooze the church secretary. I know they have a reputation of being hard to deal with, but they know everything about the church and how things work. Church secretaries can be your best friend or your worst enemy – so determine to make her your best friend from the start.
5. Expect some criticism. You won’t be at the church for 30 days before someone tells you how it “use to be done” or “what they have found that works”. Accept the criticism with grace, nod your head and listen, then move ahead with your plans.
6. Take time to assess the church. Some of the best assessment will come when you volunteer to buy the youth pastor lunch. Spend time with the other members of the church staff. Ask who the power people are in the church. Learn who the money people are (normally the senior citizens). Find out where the church is weak and where it is strong. Discover the hot topics.
7. Bring parents on board with your vision and plan. Your #1 job as a children’s pastor is to help mom and dad raise Godly kids so involve them in your plans.
8. Pace yourself. Babies are born one at a time for a reason – your new ideas need to be too. Don’t try to do everything you have dreamed about in the first twelve months.
9. Connect with other children’s pastors. You need to do this locally, at conferences, and online. Get on Twitter and follow other children’s pastors. Don’t try to do it alone.
10. Subscribe to K! Magazine. You don’t expect me to leave this out, do you? It’s one of the best resource out for children’s pastors and it’s less than 20 bucks a year. You’ll get a digital subscription at no extra charge! Ask around – you’ve gotta have it.