When preparing to enter into the realm of children’s ministry, many people have assumptions of what it will be like. Even if you try to prepare yourself by attending a college or seminary before you begin, you won’t be able to learn everything you will need to know. Here are a few things that you will need to know, but seminaries likely won’t teach you:

1. You will lead adults just as much, if not more, than kids.

After completing my seminary degree, not one time do I remember any of my professors saying that I would likely be leading adults more than children. Many times when you first begin in children’s ministry, you have this preconceived notion that most, if not all, of your time will be spent with children. While you do get to spend a lot of time with kids, the reality is you will likely spend just as much time with parents and volunteers as you do with children.

2. You should be good at stockpiling resources and bargain shopping.

Unfortunately, many times a church’s children’s ministry is made up of the largest number of people, but has the smallest budget. Seminaries that offer children’s ministry degrees should include a class on couponing, stockpiling, and saving because as a children’s ministry leader, you probably need to know how to do each. Yesterday, I wrote a post with 6 websites that can help your children’s ministry save money. You can read that here.

3. You will have to be intentional about your spiritual development.

If you’re a children’s ministry leader, you’ve probably heard about this thing your church has, called a worship service, but you may not have ever seen it. If you want to be fed spiritually, you will probably have to take responsibility of that for yourself. Podcasts and recorded services will be your best friend!

4. Networking is vital.

Unless you live in a large city, you probably won’t meet many other children’s ministry leaders in your town. Because the role of the children’s minister is often one of the last ones to be filled on a church staff, many churches are without someone to solely direct their ministries to kids. You NEED someone to bounce ideas off of, share your struggles with, and receive encouragement from. Find a way to network with others, whether it be through starting a children’s ministry network in your area, using social networks, or reading blogs.


What other things have you learned about children’s ministry from the “School of Hard Knocks?” Share your tips below!

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GJ Farmer is a husband, a dad, the founder of ChildrensMinistryBlog.com, and is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in Somerset, Kentucky. He has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Church Ministries and a Master’s degree in Children’s Ministry. He has also been fortunate to lead and teach groups at children’s ministry conferences and to have had some of his writing published. Apart from working with kids, he enjoys reading, performing magic tricks, playing video games, and University of Kentucky basketball.


  1. My wife has been a children’s ministry coordinator for preschool children for 11 years ( no seminary degree or degree of any kind) & I can say that she is right in ‘if people only knew’ what it was REALLY like! I completely concur as I also spent many of those years as a volunteer under her leadership teaching many children. Your piece is dead on, on all counts.