Should I Become a Children's Minister?
Children's ministers teach religious practices and principles to children. Although these positions are considered subordinate to full ministers, they are of key importance to the religious and spiritual for the development of a community. Children's ministers must be well versed in theology as well as early childhood development. People with experience in working with children, those with education degrees, and those with a masters degree in divinity would be especially skilled in and prepared for work in children's ministry.
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|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree; master's degree programs available|
|Degree Field||Religion, children's ministry|
|Experience||Working with children, teaching experience|
|Key Skills||Education, communication, patience, instructional, knowledge of biblical events, creativity|
|Salary (2014)||$43,950 per year (median for all clergy)|
Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Many positions in children's ministry require at least a bachelor's degree. Though requirements may vary between churches and denominations, many of these positions are not considered full ministers by the church. Generally, the position is much more in line with a director position under the administration of a minister. For that reason, a bachelor's degree with a focus in religion or children's ministry might be a strong choice for students looking to minister to children in church programs. For those majoring in religion, some schools offer minor concentrations in children's ministry.
Step 2: Develop Experience Working with Children
Directors of religious education may be paid positions, but they often have volunteers who work for them as teachers. Gaining experience in a teaching role will fulfill a possible job requirement of experience and might be accomplished concurrently with the bachelor's degree program. Additionally, students may seek an internship, serving in a church for educational credit while developing work skills, job recommendations and church contacts. Both of these approaches will assist students in becoming more marketable as religious educators and leaders of religious educators.
Step 3: Create a Teaching Philosophy
As much as any other teaching role, children's ministry requires preparation and a thorough understanding of educational and development theory. Applying these theories to church doctrines allow religious educators to not only communicate information, but do so in exciting and age-appropriate ways. Continuing education on a personal level may not only be fulfilling, but may allow the religious educator to synthesize a coherent teaching philosophy in harmony with the teachings of the church.
Step 4: Complete a Possible Master of Divinity Program
As with any other religious role, career growth and education sometimes go hand-in-hand. Continuing education beyond the bachelor's degree level may be necessary in order to grow from the role of director of religious education into a full ministerial role, complete with ordination.