Daron's Soap Box: Will the Real Pastor Please Stand Up!


I get asked at times when am I going to stop doing children's ministries and become a "real" or "normal" pastor? Can someone please tell me what a real or normal pastor is?
Daron has a soap box moment.
I get asked at times when am I going to stop doing children's ministries and become a "real" or "normal" pastor?  Can someone please tell me what a real or normal pastor is?
Do I need to graduate or grow up or normalise in some way in order to be considered a "real" pastor?  Do I need to tell dead men's tales, preach from the KJV or wear a suit?
I was also told a few years ago that I should stop twisting balloons and using my God given gifts as I was leading the kids to the devil and the mark of the beast by entertaining them with balloon animals.
Maybe I should put it this way.  I will stop doing children's ministries when I see the following occurring....
1/  I will become a "real" pastor when I see the churches' back door is firmly shut and that we are keeping more children than we are losing... Currently we are losing between 50 to 90% of our own children out the back door.  This is a tragedy.  Many of these stories are stories of loss, abuse, betrayal and spiritual neglect.
2/  I will become a "real" pastor when the churches' front door is firmly open. Children are most open to receiving Jesus, the gospel and salvation before they reach their teenage years yet most of our evangelistic efforts are aimed elsewhere (mainly adults) with little or poor results.
3/  I will become a "real" pastor when I see a child's decision taken seriously.  Children respond at summer camps, big camps, baptisms and in sabbath school and no one takes their decision seriously because they are perceived as being too young. I have seen pastors do calls from the baptismal font for people to respond and prepare for baptism.  The pastors look over the children jumping excitedly down the front and yet acknowledges the adult who stands at the back.  By the time they reach the age of 18 or so (Why is that?) when we suddenly decide they should be dunked they have already gone or else they just don't make decisions anymore because the last dozen they have made have not been followed up.  Children and youth will go where they are wanted and feel valued and included.
4/ I will become a "real" pastor when I see children in our churches receiving a fair slice of the budget pie.  Currently in most churches our children's ministries is not central and little or no budget dollars go their way.  Many churches still argue over whether the children's ministries director should be on the board or not!
5/  I will become a "real" pastor when I see children acknowledged, affirmed and participating in the worship service.  Children have as much right to the worship hour as adults do yet many ignore, bore or remove children from the main worship service. Intergenerational worship is key.
6/  I will become a "real" pastor when I see sermons being preached that are interesting and relevant to all who attend, especially the children.
7/  I will become a "real" pastor when I see churches celebrating the milestones in their children's lives
8/  I will become a "real" pastor when our churches and individuals stop abusing children or covering it up and calling the child a naughty or difficult child.
9/  I will become a "real" pastor when I see administrators at all levels placing children's ministries alongside youth ministries with a level playing field of budget, personnel and resources.  (Perhaps this is one of our huge blind spots in the church and a huge reason why we continue to lose our kids despite all that we do in youth ministries.  We are starting too late)  Currently when we look at our society and churches and all that is happening we should be strengthening our children's ministries when we are in fact weakening it.  Currently there is no one advocating for children's ministries at Division or Union level and many of our conferences employ 2 or more youth personnel but only have volunteer/part time children's ministries directors who are paid peanuts.  Why is that?
10/ I will become a "real" pastor when I see that parents are being equipped and supported by churches and schools to take up their God ordained role of discipling our children.  When I see family alters being raised and parents see children as their greatest investment.
11/  I will become a "real" pastor when I see children/babies crying out and shouting in the temple, being placed in the centre at the feet of Jesus. Then I will know that the Kingdom of Heaven is here.  If I don't hear a baby crying while I preach and teach and twist then I know that the church is dying.
12/  I will become a "real" pastor when churches, homes, schools and leaders get real with children and children's ministries!
THEN I WILL BECOME A "REAL" PASTOR (Whatever that looks like, please explain?)
Will The real Pastor please stand up?
Recently I was asked by a senior administrator if children's ministries was where I saw myself remaining for the rest of my career..... My response was a hearty yes.  I can't help but continue to be passionate about, to be a voice for the voiceless, to be an advocate for those to whom the Kingdom of Heaven belongs.  Here I stand, I can do no other.
(Daron gets off his soapbox, pulls out his balloons, begins twisting and wanders on into the crowded street)
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