Four years ago our children’s ministry was tanking. We were losing kids and as a result losing families at our church. We made a change in staff and started to do the hard work of turning it around. It was a difficult time but we trudged forward by recruiting new workers and training them, launched a new class, and rearranged some things. Over time the momentum started to shift. Being a portable church made it a challenge but slowly we started to see the numbers rise again as well as the excitement.
Flash forward to today and our children’s ministry is busting at the seems. We have almost as many children between the ages of 0-17 during our second service as we do adults. We have had two very successful VBS’ and each month on the last Friday night we pack out the church with kids aged 7-12 for something we call Frenzy. Kids bug their parents to come to church on Sunday.
What changed? Instead of going for the quick fix we developed a pipeline, not only with kids graduating to the next class but leaders and teachers that are as enthusiastic as the kids. A Pipeline is a continuous source of people that feed and develop your ministry. Developing pipelines only come through long arduous work by the leaders. What do you need to do to develop a pipeline? Here are four ways:
- Break Up the Hard Ground: Most pipelines never start because leaders don’t want to do the hard work. Breaking up the hard ground is stopping all the bad programs, habits, and workers that are preventing anything from happening. This won’t be popular but it is necessary if your ministry is stalled. You will meet resistance and opposition but keep the goal in mind, a continual supply to your ministry.
- Remove the Debris: As you are laying the pipe there is going to be be junk that gets into your lines. It will prevent the pipe from working. This may be a negative attitude or it could be a fear inside of you to go all in. Whatever it may be remove it or it will clog future operations.
- Commit the Resources: Building a pipeline isn’t cheap. In fact it costs so much and takes so much time that you will wonder if it is worth it. Just decide from the beginning that you are going to invest both time and money to make this work. It takes money to get the right person and it takes time for them to build momentum. It takes resources to do a program right and ti takes time for people to be comfortable with it. When I was a kid one of the major streets kept flooding when it rained. The city committed millions of dollars and eighteen months to get the project done. There were a lot of complaints but when it was done it worked and everyone was happy.
- Open the Valve: No pipeline is useful unless you are willing to open it up and let it flow. So many leaders do the work of building a pipeline and then refuse to let the people do what they are supposed to do. The leader doesn’t want to let his baby walk because he might fall. Be willing to give up control and see what God can do. You will always be blown away.
Recently we restarted our men’s ministry, call it version 4.0. We think we have hit on something this time but it is the early stages. We are laying pipe and watching what happens. It is a lot of hard work and time but we are very excited about the possibilities. In three years we will look back and probably marvel that it even worked but we will be glad it did.