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For years there has been a great divide between kids and student ministry. We each did our own thing and ignored the other. The good news is that churches are figuring out that this mindset is not really helpful for families or the church. The bad news is that all of us (children’s and youth pastors) have to figure out how to connect and serve together. Today I had the chance to connect with a Jonathan Cliff and the next generation team at Trinity Church in Lubbock, TX. We talked some about how youth ministry and children’s ministry could connect and serve together. Here is what I think all of us can do to work together with a united vision to partner with families and reach students…

  1. Embrace the strategy not the details // Youth pastors and kids pastors need freedom to craft innovative environments that work for their target audience connected with a vibrant, intentional strategy. Most division comes when we mess with each others details. Leaders need freedom. When we fight for strategy and not details we give each other that freedom.
  2. Learn from each other // Youth pastors tend to take more risks because we were called to reach a very risk filled demographic. Children’s pastors tend to create amazing structured environments that fuel spiritual growth and safety. What I have learned is that we need each other in order to really make an impact in the lives of families today. Stop, listen, and learn!
  3. Celebrate wins together // This flows from relationship! When kids pastors and student pastors know each other they begin to care for each other and know what is a win to each other. When we are connected we can celebrate wins together.
  4. Give advice and ideas. Don’t make demands // We need each others input and not blanket demands of how things should be done. Take a step out and share ideas but also be willing for your ideas to not be picked as the best. Ideas breed innovation and both children’s and youth pastors have great ideas for other ministries. Giving input is a gift. You give it then step away unless invited in to take it further.