Does a Kidmin Volunteer have to be a Christian?


“In a small church, it can be difficult to get enough volunteers since you are just starting out.  What do you think about people who aren’t
Christians volunteering with kids?” –
submitted by Dan in Santa Monica, California

I understand that many of you will have differing opinions than I have on this subject.  I want you to know that it is OK – and I welcome the discussion.  Please leave comments below.  Let’s share our approach and reasons for it.

My personal opinion and conviction on this matter is that all volunteers in Kids Ministry should go through a screening process.  Part of that process should be affirming the fact that they are committed believers and daily followers of Christ.  I think it should definitely be a requirement.  Here are my reasons:

1)  Kids Ministry is not child-care – it is discipleship.

Kids Ministry is exactly that – Kids MINISTRY.  It is working hard to share the Gospel with the children through our actions, words, love, and concern.  We are to teach the children to be life-long followers of Christ.  It is very difficult to teach what you have not yet become – a follower of Jesus.  As John Maxwell always says, “We teach what we know, but we reproduce what we are.”

2)  We must protect the kids.

I think you have to have the HIGHEST level of safety and security.  By ensuring that every person that works in your Kids Ministry is saved, has been trained, and has gone through a background check process – then you can assure parents that you have done EVERYTHING you can to ensure their child’s safety.

3)  We must protect the volunteer.

Allowing someone who is not a Christian to become an influence in the lives of children is setting them up for failure.  Asking someone who is not a Christian to “act like a Christian” only when they are around the children is not only asking them to “be a hypocrite”, but it is setting them up for failure.  There are tremendous repercussions when that happens, not only for the child, but also for the volunteer.  Remember, Jesus said, “It would be better for someone to tie a mill stone around their neck and be thrown into the sea than for them to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

4)  We must have a higher standard in Kidmin.

I personally think that Kids Ministry should have the HIGHEST standard of any ministry in the church, not the lowest.  I understand that in a small congregation it can be hard to get volunteers.  That means we have to work doubletime to communicate the vision and goals of the Kids Ministry.  INSPIRE others to be involved, don’t GUILT them into it.  I think the higher the bar is raised, the higher level of volunteer you will end up with.  If we won’t require someone to be a believer in order to work with our most prized possessions (our kids), then what WILL we require salvation in order to do?

5)  It’s not discrimination.  It’s wisdom.

Those who do not yet know Christ are one of THE REASONS we exist as a church.  We love them and are motivated to pray for them, love them, help them, and demonstrate Christ’s love to them.  However, we can not have those who do not yet agree wholeheartedly with what we are teaching be involved as a leader in the lives of the kids we are responsible for.  Too many opportunities for confusion to be sown in the minds of the children.

6)  It’s not about being “perfect.”

Many who have a differing opinion on this subject may say, “Well, no one is perfect.  Even the Christian volunteers you have are bound to eventually slip up and make a mistake, have a wrong attitude, say a cuss word, etc.”  This is true.  No one is perfect.  It’s not about whether or not they will make a mistake or not.  The bottom line is – we have to take every precaution we can to ensure that those we place in leadership over our children are going to represent Christ to the kids.  They are the “only Jesus” many of our kids will ever see.

7)  There are many other opportunities to serve.

I never turn someone away outright.  I explain to them the reasons behind my decision not to use them in Kids Ministry, then redirect them to an area in the church where they are not working with minors.  I might even put them on one of the Kidmin teams that does not interface directly with kids (setup, cleanup, etc.)  I do see the importantance for them to work alongside those are committed believers so as to be able to see the love and service of Christ weekly.

I also commit to pray for their salvation and step up my efforts to communicate Christ’s love to them through my life.

Again, I welcome your comments and other points of view?  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Let’s discuss…

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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18 thoughts on “Does a Kidmin Volunteer have to be a Christian?

  1. I ABSOLUTELY agree about not turning them away!! There are MANY ares that a non-christian could volunteer that would lead to times of interaction and freindship between them and the children’s pastor or other volunteer.
    Areas that come to mind right away – preperation during the week by getting supplies, making copies, preparing power point slides, getting costume ready, finding new funny videos,editing video, or any other number of things we have to do to get ready for Sunday. And of course if they do it with you – its a bonus because it gives you time to pour into their life!
    Also on Sundays/Wednesday they could help with set up/break down, run sound, get supplies to the various rooms, etc.
    I agree that non-christians should not be forced be “be a hypocrite” but there are PLENTY of areas they can serve in that will hopefully lead to their growth! Great question!! 🙂

  2. Tricky one! We have had people serve in areas of kids min such as games, craft and kitchen who are not yet Christians. Is it ideal? Maybe for them it is the only way they will stay long enough to hear a message. They do not get to go set up wile we are teaching! They stay and hear the Word of God explained in a way they can understand and with no jargon!
    It is not a good long term prospect and we would not have them in a leadership role, but there are times when it works. Having said that, I would not solve (and have not solved) a short staffed, lack of volunteer problem in this way. I actually think you need more Christian adults if you have non Christians serving, because they are the ones who can form relationship and move the others towards Jesus.

  3. Praise God!! you got me at children Ministry IS NOT Baby sitting!!! ~ If I had children of my own I would not want someone who wasn’t deeply in love w/ my Jesus!! In my children church I try to be REAL & show (by living it) my relationship w/ Jesus! How can you teach about something you don’t know ? But I do have young Christian’s working on my team , it’s helping them to grow & learn.On the other hand I know Jesus doesn’t turn any one away ~ I would find a place on the team to get them connected! And let God do the work,

  4. For me it depends on the role. They have to pass security checks but there are certain places I will allow non-Christians to serve if they have children in the ministry. I’ve asked one parent who loves photography to be a VBS photographer. Others serve as listeners at Awana. Or they can help with registration or snacks. It’s one way for them to be around to hear the gospel. They don’t teach and they aren’t alone with kids so there is always a strong Christian to answer questions. The best ones to disciple a child is their parent. So getting parents who don’t go to our church or are non Christians in the door is important. It also means a lot to these kids that their parents can help and be a part of things. Even gives the preaching and teaching of the church grayer witchy in their eyes.

  5. I totally agree, Pastor Brian! We have to strive for excellence for our kidsmin and carefully screen any volunteers. I do think, however, its a great opportunity to have an unsaved person come to you and want to volunteer. You could play a huge part in their salvation. Also, if they have a talent or hobby that they could show or teach to kids, that would be a way to encourage them to use their gifts for God under the supervision of you or your team. For example, maybe they have mad juggling skills or they love to cook. That’s a reasonable and safe way to use them in an object lesson, etc., where you have control of the Biblical teaching but they can still serve.

  6. Thanks Brian. I think one of the keys is discerning where the person is at spiritually. Honestly, there are some positions where I don’t want to have certain “Christian” people serve either, because of personality, attitude, habits, demeanor, etc. Being proactive in the interview process is key.

    We had a situation where a girl’s club leader (a wonderful “Christian” mom) was placed as leader of a group. She became pregnant and everyone was congratulating her. We then found out that she was a single mom, living with the father of the child…not married. A lot of assumptions had been made and we found ourselves in an unfortunate position we didn’t want to condone this non-marital arrangement. It was not handled in a “redemptive” way…bringing confusion to the girl’s leader also. She had no idea that her personal decisions were unsupported by our church. ….so, my point is, do your homework before placing people in positions.

  7. I enjoyed reading your article. I have a question, would you let someone who is openly gay help in your kids ministry? I know most right off the bat would say no. I have a few at my church, that I know love Christ.

    • Hey Jessica! Thanks for the question. It is definitely a sensitive issue in our world right now. Here are my thoughts:

      1) I believe the Bible is clear that practicing homosexuality is sin.
      2) I believe that anyone who is choosing to engage in sinful activity should not placed in leadership – especially over kids. This would apply to ANY sinful activity, whether that is gossip, lying, pre-marital sex, or in this case – homosexuality.
      3) This is especially true for those who would openly and even proudly engage in this sinful activity.

      I understand that there are those who are deceived and choose to believe that this is not sinful activity. I don’t make an assumption on their relationship with God. That is definitely between them and the Lord. However, I have a responsibility to God for the children He has entrusted in my care. I am sending a dangerous mixed message to the children if I allow anyone who is actively living in sin to be in a leadership role.

      Now, as in EVERY case – I would approach that person lovingly. I would explain to them the reasons for not allowing them to serve in that particular role, but let them know that there are many other roles they are able to serve in that just aren’t leadership in nature.

      Does that answer your question?

  8. I agree 100%. I am brought back to a time in ministry when I was in youth group and I knew a ton of stuff that was going on that the youth leaders were into that they shouldnt have been. When I heard them tell me not to do certain things, and I knew they were it was a hard to take. Actually turned me away from church for a couple years. I even saw some of the older youth hold those mistakes over the leaders heads when the leaders approached them with subjects they needed to repent of. It does damage on both sides. Today those youth that were in that church are now the adult leaders. The church has a lot of bad things going on and getting ready to shut the door due to legal stuff.