Anyone who has served in children’s and youth ministries understands the difference between the two. Despite the connection between Millennials and Generation Z kids, today’s culture is amplifying that contrast. Without precaution, these sibling ministries could become disconnected if their leaders aren’t intentional in remaining team players with an integrated agenda in mind.
The Prius Concept
By establishing a cooperative strategy, the synergy produced in the partnership allows both ministries to move forward more efficiently. It’s comparable to the concept in current hybrid engineering where a transmission is simultaneously powered by two energy sources. These sources can supplement each other’s power supply and output. When this same feeding the need concept is applied between kids and student ministries, efficiency happens.
The Farm System
Branch Rickey, a MLB executive during the early 1900’s, is known for pioneering the minor league farm system as we know it today. He introduced it through the St. Louis Cardinals organization, which went on to win 9 league pennants and 6 World Series championships from 1926-1946. The second team to adopt the system, the NY Yankees, collected 16 World Series titles from the mid 30’s to the 60’s. Teams who were closed to the idea—like Philadelphia and Washington—were nearly shut out of championships during this era. The feeder system proved its undeniable effectiveness in developing player talent for the parent club.
This same success can be enjoyed by student leaders who adopt a major/minor league philosophy with children’s directors. If synergy exists, the benefits and results are immediate and long-term. By helping each other, these ministries empower themselves. It becomes a win-win.
The Immediate Benefits
When teens serve others during a stage of life that can be very self-focused, their serving muscles have opportunity to develop. Serving down in kid’s ministry teaches students humility and responsibility. Their contribution will in turn help alleviate the need for volunteers facing the children’s ministry. It’s a win for both.
The experience also gives teens the opportunity to discover and develop their spiritual gifts and talents in a non-intimidating environment. In return, their up-front presence in a kids program produces the same aura a major-league star would radiate as he plays through a rehabilitation assignment in the minors. The life and enthusiasm an energetic high school student injects into a kids church is indispensable. Youth influence can engage kids more fully as children observe someone they admire worship God with their life. In a few short years, these same kids will become a source of influence empowering the children’s church.
The Long-Term Results
Youth leaders who encourage their students to serve in children’s ministry have vision beyond their own efforts and calendars. These leaders discern and capitalize on the benefits their teens will experience as they assist in kids ministry settings. Involvement incites significance. Purpose gleans commitment. Commitment produces spiritual maturity—the goal every student ministry aims for. Christians who experience this type of discipleship in their youth years often go on to accomplish kingdom-sized dreams for God.
The Undeniable Proof
There is undeniable proof that synergy produces efficiency—and wins. Toyota has the concept and the #1-selling hybrid. The Cardinal and Yankee organizations have enjoyed similar success. So did King Solomon with his numerous engineering accomplishments throughout his dynasty. He endorsed the concept in writing.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. Ecc. 4:9
Children’s and student leaders who work together will be rewarded. Their accolades will be far greater than World Series titles or a trophy. Their living trophies will count as wins throughout eternity.
Barry Seymour is founder and director of Dream Big Ministries. He has extensive experience in children’s and youth ministry, serving churches in New England and Atlantic Canada for the past 20 years.