When leading a ministry that needs to be turned around you must be ready for attacks. Let’s face it, I wish it were as easy as Joshua’s transition. I wish you could stand in front of your volunteers, staff and team and shout, “Pastor John, my servant is dead!” and move on with the plan God has given you. Joshua was apart of an amazing transition—not without its bumps and bruises—that we should all hope for.
Those who attack you will attack you because…
1. You’re not like the last leader.
You will get attacked simply because you are not your predecessor. It could be perhaps they had a long-lasting relationship with the children’s pastor and now they don’t. This attack normally isn’t a personal attack. In other words it’s not what you did. You’re only getting attacked because you are the one holding that position. You can get through this attack by continuing to show love and being kind to your new team. This doesn’t mean that you have to be someone’s best friend just because your predecessor was their best friend. You just have to be you.
2. They don’t like what they THINK your motives are.
People will attack your motives and why you took the position. Some motive attacks you could hear are:
• All he cares about is numbers!
• He just wants to write his own stuff!
• She only hangs out with new volunteers!
• She’s not spiritual, she’s too business-like!
The list could go on and on. You name it and they’ll attack you for it. It’s important to not let this get to you. As long as you know your heart is in the right place, just pay careful attention to how you present your vision or plan. As long as you speak from an authoritive yet humble heart, you’ll be okay. You cannot control another person’s attitude.
3. They don’t like change.
Some people just don’t like change. They will attack you for changing the logo, the name, the paint colors, carpet, toys, pen ink, Bible versions, curriculums, etc. We are creatures of habit. Some of the worst change can come when you cancel a ministry or program that another leader loved. My advice to you is to get advice from mentors, be bold and confident that if God is directing you a certain way—do it. Change is never easy, but is necessary.
Don’t be discouraged when you get attacked for leading a turnaround children’s ministry—it happens to everyone. The great thing about our children’s ministry community is that we can go to each other for advice, to vent or for encouragement.