Disney has something they call “onstage” and “offstage”. You are onstage when you are in the Disney theme park where guests can see you. You are offstage when you are behind the big walls where only other cast members (employees) can see you. Disney employees are expected to bring their A game with them when they’re onstage. They are expected to be in character whenever they’re in front of the guests.
As children’s ministers it’s easy to let things slide. Often times we’re just glad that we have breathing bodies around to keep kids alive for about an hour or so until their parents get back. It’s tough enough keeping our child to adult ratios at the proper levels that we don’t think about people’s attitudes and how they are representing our ministry.
I’ve made the call more than once either subtly or upfront to move someone from children’s ministry because their attitude and demeanor did not meet the standards of our ministry. Attitude is important. The truth is no matter how tough life is or what kind of season you are in, you have the ability to choose your attitude for those few minutes you are ministering to children. For some of these children, you’re the only Jesus they see all month or week. I want to make sure the Jesus they see in me is reflective of the Jesus in the Bible.
Here are some things you can do to change the attitude in your ministry:
1. Create standards or expectations. People are not mind readers and they need expectations to be clear.
2. When you see someone looking a little down remind them to put on their game face while they’re here. After service (or before if there’s time) sit down with them—get into their life—and see what’s going on. Maybe they just need someone to talk to or a simple encouragement or prayer that you can offer. In other words—know your team.
3. Periodically send out reminders and praise reports on how a good attitude impacted someone at church (either a child, parent or another team member).
4. Model a good attitude. As the leader, you should set the bar. It doesn’t mean you’re perfect, but it does mean you are living out what you expect others to do.