As part of the KidMin Mentoring Course, I am excited to bring you an interview with Sam Luce from Samluce.com. I pray that you will be encouraged by his words and pick up practical ideas that you can use in your Children’s Ministry.
FFS: Hey Sam! Tell us a little about yourself.
Sam: I attended Portland Bible College in Portland Oregon where I graduated in 1997 with a BA in Theology, upon graduation I became the children’s pastor at the same church for over 18 years. I have done children’s ministry for the last 20 years. In those years, I have seen kids ministry grow and change tremendously.
I am currently a contributing editor to K! magazine, have served as chairman of INCM, co-authored “The Eric Trap”, have been involved in several book projects, and been blogging here since 2007. I have spoken at conferences and have done some consulting and coaching. My real passion lies in preaching the gospel, building and strengthening the local church in any way possible because I believe in creating environments where life change can take place. I truly believe that the local church is the hope of the world.
I have been married to my beautiful wife for 15 years together we have 4 beautiful children ages 11, 9, 6 and 3 years. We currently live in Upstate New York.
FFS: How did you get started in Children’s Ministry?
Sam: Long story, but basically I was tricked, like most people who serve in kids ministry. I moved across the country believing that I was hired as the youth pastor and found out that I was hired as the kids’ pastor a few weeks into the job. It was amazing to see God transform my heart and desires to see the value and need for kids to encounter God and grow in their understanding of Him at a young age.
FFS: I love how God changes our passions so we can be better used by Him. What trends are you seeing with KidMin curriculum?
Sam: I think there are so many incredible curriculums to choose from. When I first started 19 years ago there were fewer options. Today it’s not where can I find a good curriculum, but rather which curriculum is best for my church. Most do a great job giving you video elements and small group/ large group options. I wrote an ebook a while back that serves as a tool to help you find the right curriculum for you and your church. http://samluce.com/ebook/
FFS: Thanks for sharing that resource! How do you recruit volunteers and keep volunteers?
Sam: The best way to find and keep the best volunteers is personally asking them. I know we live in a media rich world where we can make amazing videos, twitter, instagram, but nothing beats a leader sharing his heart for leading the next generation followed by a personal ask. Nothing.
FFS: A personal invitation makes a huge difference. How do you approach goal planning and achievement?
Sam: I think goals are good and helpful, but they also have their downside. They tend to create efficiency in things that can unintentionally lead to impatience with people. The other issue with goals is they can sometimes lead us to place our hope in goal creation as a means of soul transformation. We water. We plant. God gives the increase. Our goals should be about water and planting, never about increase, because when we think the increase is because of our efforts alone apart from God’s grace we are in deep trouble.
FFS: Absolutely!! What would you say to a KidMin Director or volunteer who is just beginning his/her ministry?
Sam: I would say learn to communicate with parents and adults. This is not easy when you are young, but it’s such an important part of what you do. The other thing I would say is make sure Sunday is fun, but make sure you preach Jesus every Sunday. Our desire at Redeemer is that every kid who leaves our kids’ ministry knows Jesus is everything.
FFS: What encouraging message would you like to give to those who teach Bible every week to children?
Sam: Make it practical and make Christ central. Most curriculums do one or the other really well, but I think kids need both to be clearly presented weekly. Also, never forget the reason we preach the gospel to kids. It is not to amend behavior, but to transform affections. This is a work the Holy Spirit does through faithful teaching. So pray, prepare, and proclaim every week.
FFS: What project are you working on right now?
Sam: VBS! And a Parent Resource I call First Steps, Next Steps. It gives parents answers to questions they ask most often in two formats. The first is 3 short answers. The next, is a long form 5+ page paper with resources.