"In a small church, it can be difficult to get enough volunteers since you are just starting out. What do you think about people who aren't
Christians volunteering with kids?" - submitted by Dan in Santa Monica, California
I understand that many of you will have differing opinions than I have on this subject. I want you to know that it is OK - and I welcome the discussion. Please leave comments below. Let's share our approach and reasons for it.
My personal opinion and conviction on this matter is that all volunteers in Kids Ministry should go through a screening process. Part of that process should be affirming the fact that they are committed believers and daily followers of Christ. I think it should definitely be a requirement. Here are my reasons:
1) Kids Ministry is not child-care - it is discipleship.
Kids Ministry is exactly that - Kids MINISTRY. It is working hard to share the Gospel with the children through our actions, words, love, and concern. We are to teach the children to be life-long followers of Christ. It is very difficult to teach what you have not yet become - a follower of Jesus. As John Maxwell always says, "We teach what we know, but we reproduce what we are."
2) We must protect the kids.
I think you have to have the HIGHEST level of safety and security. By ensuring that every person that works in your Kids Ministry is saved, has been trained, and has gone through a background check process - then you can assure parents that you have done EVERYTHING you can to ensure their child's safety.
3) We must protect the volunteer.
Allowing someone who is not a Christian to become an influence in the lives of children is setting them up for failure. Asking someone who is not a Christian to "act like a Christian" only when they are around the children is not only asking them to "be a hypocrite", but it is setting them up for failure. There are tremendous repercussions when that happens, not only for the child, but also for the volunteer. Remember, Jesus said, "It would be better for someone to tie a mill stone around their neck and be thrown into the sea than for them to cause one of these little ones to stumble."
4) We must have a higher standard in Kidmin.
I personally think that Kids Ministry should have the HIGHEST standard of any ministry in the church, not the lowest. I understand that in a small congregation it can be hard to get volunteers. That means we have to work doubletime to communicate the vision and goals of the Kids Ministry. INSPIRE others to be involved, don't GUILT them into it. I think the higher the bar is raised, the higher level of volunteer you will end up with. If we won't require someone to be a believer in order to work with our most prized possessions (our kids), then what WILL we require salvation in order to do?
5) It's not discrimination. It's wisdom.
Those who do not yet know Christ are one of THE REASONS we exist as a church. We love them and are motivated to pray for them, love them, help them, and demonstrate Christ's love to them. However, we can not have those who do not yet agree wholeheartedly with what we are teaching be involved as a leader in the lives of the kids we are responsible for. Too many opportunities for confusion to be sown in the minds of the children.
6) It's not about being "perfect."
Many who have a differing opinion on this subject may say, "Well, no one is perfect. Even the Christian volunteers you have are bound to eventually slip up and make a mistake, have a wrong attitude, say a cuss word, etc." This is true. No one is perfect. It's not about whether or not they will make a mistake or not. The bottom line is - we have to take every precaution we can to ensure that those we place in leadership over our children are going to represent Christ to the kids. They are the "only Jesus" many of our kids will ever see.
7) There are many other opportunities to serve.
I never turn someone away outright. I explain to them the reasons behind my decision not to use them in Kids Ministry, then redirect them to an area in the church where they are not working with minors. I might even put them on one of the Kidmin teams that does not interface directly with kids (setup, cleanup, etc.) I do see the importantance for them to work alongside those are committed believers so as to be able to see the love and service of Christ weekly.
I also commit to pray for their salvation and step up my efforts to communicate Christ's love to them through my life.
Again, I welcome your comments and other points of view? Do you agree? Disagree? Let's discuss...