Change Is Coming. Are You Willing? (Audio Blog by Orange Leaders)

by Jess Bealer


By Jess Bealer

When it comes to ministry, there isn’t a formula you can plug into Excel that will spit out the next maneuver or strategy. There is one reason, though, that ministries tend to thrive: They’ll do anything and everything to engage kids and empower families so that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ. This means lots of change. What worked once, may not find success in the future. What appealed to your congregation last year, won’t connect today. Here are three questions to help you assess your willingness and measure your dexterity in ministry.


Change Is Coming. Are You Willing?


{As featured on}

Recently, my church celebrated its 10th anniversary. To an outsider, this may not seem like a grand feat. Many of you may think, “They’re babies, a decade is nothing more than a blink of time in the grand scheme of things.” You’d be right. However, in those 10 years, we’ve seen our church grow from 16 individuals in 2006 to 22,000 in attendance last weekend. It seems unfathomable, really. We’ve come a long way, and yet, we have so far to go.

As the children’s director of a church that ministers to more than 4,000 families every weekend, I often get asked how we stay on top of everything and yet continue to push the ministry forward. I would love to tell you the answer is simple. Unfortunately, there isn’t a formula I can plug into Excel that will spit out our next maneuver or strategy. I wish there was. We’ve made so many mistakes, taken so many missteps; we probably should all be out of jobs. So why are we still here? Why, despite many failures, have we been allowed to keep pressing on? There’s one reason: We’ll do anything and everything to engage kids and empower families so that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ. That goal can only be accomplished when the commitment to God’s calling on our ministry exceeds our fear of CHANGE. Ministry is messy. What worked once, may not find success in the future. What appealed to your congregation last year, won’t connect today. I believe success is measured in units of willingness.

Success is measured in units of willingness. via Click To Tweet

Here are three questions to help you assess your willingness and measure your dexterity in ministry.

Are you willing to try?

My pastor often says…


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Effort vs Ability

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Growing up I was a straight A student. To hear him tell it, my husband was typically a B honor roll kind of kid. You may assume I was the smarter one. Your assumption would be wrong. My husband is a genius, the smartest man I’ve ever known. I had to work hard to maintain my grades. He never studied. Don’t you just hate those kind of people. Well…I love him too, but you understand what I’m saying. It was easier for him than it was for me. We were dating in college and his study habits drove me crazy. It seemed I always had my nose in a book, and he was always playing ultimate frisbee. Despite our priority differences, when test day rolled around our grades were always comparable. My husband eventually outgrew his apathetic phase. He began to apply his intellect and became a fierce leader, an attentive husband, and a thriving father. It’s incredible to see the man he has become because he decided he wanted to be someone other than who he was. His effort changed everything.

Do you know a few ministry groupies? Those volunteers who drop everything and help you achieve your mission. They’re the people at your house at midnight helping stuff treat bags or working on cut-outs. They’re the ones who show up early for set-up and stay until tear-down is complete. They even take the trash to the dumpster so you can get home to your kids.

What about the ones you dream of? The volunteers who come fully trained to take your tech ministry to the next level. Those who can redesign your ministry space or write beautiful scripts that engage children of all ages. Where are those volunteers?

Wouldn’t it be great if every volunteer came with a unique skill set designed to advance your ministry? Wait… don’t they? When did sheer effort and hard work become a second rate facility?

Skill can be taught. Talent developed. Commitment, responsibility, and perseverance cannot. Find a volunteer with good soil and sew into it. Effort always trumps ability in my book. I want the volunteer who will endure the strain of ministry alongside me for years to come. Talent comes and goes. The volunteer who smiles while cleaning bathrooms, whistles while sweeping up glitter, and laughs when the cookies they made end up on the floor receives top marks in my grade book.

What volunteer should you reevaluate? How can you intentionally invest in him or her to develop a skill or talent? Effort may outrank ability, but effort plus ability equals excellence.

Hillsong Conference 2014 : Children’s Ministry Masterclass Notes




4 Ways to make your ministry attractive

  1. Specifically highlight the life change happening in the families of your ministry (Avoid anecdotal, general statements.)
  2. Tell your church leadership what is happening in the family ministry (Don’t assume they are scouring social media to get snapshots for great stories.)
  3. Help potential volunteers see themselves as leaders in your children’s ministry (Avoid highlighting the awesome, but odd, kid fanatics.)
  4. Start sharing wins by beginning with the priorities of others (What does the parent want to hear? What does your senior leadership want to hear?)

It’s important to remember, even though you may be the voice for kids in your ministry, your job isn’t just about kids. It’s about the health of the overall ministry. As the leader, you must look beyond the weekly and monthly assignments and see the big picture, then share it with those that impact your ministry.



Q & A from #Hillsongconf Masterclass (Speed Round) {Replay}


Here are just a few of the questions that were texted in during the 2014 Children’s Ministry MasterClass that were not addressed before we ran out of time.

What are the different areas that a Coordinator (volunteer) oversees? 

In eKidz, Coordinators oversee the following areas: Safari 0-3 year olds, Quest (3 – K), Motion (1st – 5th Grade), Host Services, Setup (non-permanent locations), Theater (production / worship)

Do you use a rostering system for your volunteers? If so, what’s your ratio of service to attendance in church? 

We manage our rosters using our church management system called Fellowship One. We ask each volunteer to serve one experience and attend another (all of our locations have at least 2 worship experiences). Many volunteers do serve more than one experience. 

How do you deal with rowdy kids? 

We look to the eTeam leaders to help with the extra rowdy kids (removing them from being a distraction during our small group time). We have found that most ‘rowdy’ kids can be engaged by simply asking them to be a helper.

What’s the best way to get people to volunteer in the fist place? Like what would you say to get them on board?

I really think it goes back to sharing the impact that is had by the ministry. Get people excited to serve because they are making a difference. Let others who enjoy volunteering, share their stories of how much it means to them. Pastor Steven has built an incredible church where we don’t do ‘membership’ but rather participation.

Regarding “Layers of leaders”- it was mentioned that coordinators mentor & invest into team leader and team leader make sure everything go well in the room, what is the main role of “family/children’s pastor”? 

The staff role is to ensure that the overall ministry is running with excellence and the name of Jesus is being glorified. A large portion of our time is spent investing in the coordinators through mentoring and training.

How is the Children Min part of the bigger church vision? Does it follow the main church theme or mission for year or does it operate in silo? 

I would definitely say that we don’t operate in a silo. We do unite with the church for two to three series a year (each lasting about 6 weeks). It is important to us that EVERY week we are reinforcing the overall values of our church. We leverage opportunities to highlight how God is using our entire church, volunteers, Senior Pastor / staff.

Volunteers are in high demand. Do they serve in multiple ministries?

Early on it was necessary for all volunteers to serve in many areas. As the church has grown, we have found it best for volunteers to pick an area and focus their efforts there.

Overheard at Hillsong Conference 2014 #hillsongconf


Pastor Steven Furtick (Opening Night)

“Our presentations of perfection pose a problem for others progress.”

When it comes to #kidmin, there is often a perceived pressure to appear perfect and to display a perfect family. During this message, Pastor Steven reminded us of what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 “now with unveiled faces.” Take off the veils and be honest with God and others and watch how Jesus uses the truth to change lives.

“God can’t bless who you pretend to be.”


Pastor Brian Houston (Tuesday AM Session)

Acts 3

“Peter knew it wasn’t about what he had or didn’t have. It was about God’s power.”

“Never underestimate the power of the name of Jesus.”


Let’s talk church with Pastor Brian Houston

Talking culture

“You don’t build culture, you be the culture.”

10 cultural responsibilities of staff

1. I am a can do person.
2. This is not my job, this is my life.
3. I will serve The Lord with gladness.
4. Empowerment starts with me.
5. I am not on the gossip train.
6. I am one of THEM.
7. I will bring those around me on the journey.
8. What I am part of is bigger than the part I play.
9. I delegate but I don’t dump.
10. My spirituality is attractive.


Julia A’Bell (Tuesday PM Masterclass)

“What right does the clay have to tell the potter how it wants to be formed?”

“I become more comfortable with what I have to do and who I have to be when I stop making it all about me.”

“Be prepared to let something go, so you can do something greater.”


Pastor Bill Hybels (Wednesday AM Session)

“Pride ruins everything eventually.”

“When you decide to let go of the lesser things and pursue the grander vision, it’s going to cost you something.”


Pastor Louie Giglio (Wednesday PM Session)

“Eternity past is settled. Eternity future is settled. But in the moment there is still a decision to make about what name you will exalt.”


Pastor Steven Furtick (Thursday AM Session)

“God speaks in past tense about the battle you are currently fighting.”

“The intensity of the opposition in your life is proof of God’s power in your life!”

“Praise will lift your perspective.”

“God wants to win the battle in you, so He can win the battle for you!”


Pastor Carl Lentz (Thursday PM Session)

“The good shepherd always corrects (something to ponder when you are tempted to wonder).”

“Fight over-sensitivity, it leads to inactivity.”

“Jesus Christ has never failed anybody. He’s not going to start with you.”

“When you know how much God protects you, you can live with faith not fear.”