4 Ways to Build Confidence as a Kids’ Leader
My first morning in Children’s Ministry was a total disaster. I have vivid memories of stepping into the small, rural children’s church feeling like I was about to take the biggest college final of my life. My stomach hurt. I was shaky, sweating and an overall wreck. In short, I was terrified of children. Fifteen years later I can’t imagine anything more comfortable than walking into a room full of kids.
So, what changed? For one, just doing Children’s Ministry week in and week out made all the difference. But even without much experience, here are four things anyone can do to build confidence as a kids’ leader.
James says the prayer of a righteous man or woman is powerful and effective. Anyone who has a relationship with Jesus has been declared righteous, so take advantage of that friendship and pray it up. How many times have you gone into a weekend worship service without having prayed about it? As a Children’s Ministry leader, you’re stepping into a spiritual battle on behalf of families. The enemy wants to knock you off your game and take you out, so get serious about the fight and power up first in prayer. Getting God in the mix is an instant confidence booster.
2. Be Prepared
I’ve seen too many leaders (including myself) try to fake their way through lessons both on the stage and in small groups. Kids can easily take over when you’re distracted trying to figure out your next activity. As in anything in life, confidence comes with being prepared. Read your lesson ahead of time. Know it well enough so that you don’t have to be tied to a piece of paper. I can’t imagine any of the Superbowl players showing up at Dallas without having run their plays a million times before the big day. Weekends are our Superbowl. Time invested during the week pays off when the pressure is on.
3. Arrive early
When I was a Children’s Ministry intern, I taught a 5th grade boys’ Sunday School class. I quickly learned that whoever made it to the room first was in charge for the rest of the hour. It’s the difference between being a thermostat that sets the temperature of the room or a thermometer that simply reacts. Plan on giving yourself plenty of time to get to church early and get all of your supplies set before kids arrive. Build in enough margin to allow for delays. If you get stuck in traffic or face other unexpected setbacks, you won’t get flustered because you’ll have time to spare.
4. Be yourself
It’s easy to see other leaders and feel like you have to be just like them. Quiet leaders feel bad that they’re not like the “life of the party” leaders whose kids hang all over them like a jungle gym. “Life of the party” leaders feel bad that they can’t get control of their groups and get anything done. It’s always tempting to want to lead like someone you’re not, but kids can smell a phony a mile away. Relax and enjoy leading the way God made you.
Putting these practices to work will build your confidence and allow God to use you to change kids’ lives. As you see Him work, your confidence will continue to grow, not simply in your own abilities, but in what God’s power can do through you.