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/ 23 January 2019

Children’s worker survival guide

Emma Taylor, the family and children’s worker at St Giles’ Church, Ickenham, gives some sage advice for anyone in children’s work.


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s the local children’s worker! Sometimes the role of a children’s worker can leave you feeling a little dizzy. The toddler group hasn’t seen enough of you, schools haven’t responded to your messages and the hall manager is hunting you down for your zealous use of glitter at Messy Church last week.

All the Memory Café volunteers know that I only believe in one type of coffee and that’s with plenty of caffeine! They offer me a biscuit but to be honest I’ve probably got one stuck to the back of my coat, leftover from Messy Church. But it isn’t the coffee that keeps us going. The rewards are deep and the fun, well Mr Tumble would be well-jealous.

Yet, I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing. As I race around the church and the parish, I am aware of God’s presence. He paves the way for my children’s ministry, opening doors or keeping some closed. He fills me with energy and passion for what I do.

So here is my survival guide for all the children’s workers at the start of your children’s ministry adventure:

  1. Whatever you wear don’t forget to smile, always. After all, you’re never fully dressed without a smile.
  2. Wear the right things on your feet. Trainers are great for sprinting up the road for the school assemblies.
  3. Take any negativity on the chin and with a smile (see point 1).
  4. Don’t do things because you’ve always done them, or because other people do them. Think outside the box, the unusual sparks attention in children and families.
  5. Craft is great but how about challenges, science or games (see point 4).
  6. Embrace looking silly, you’re getting paid for it. And if you’re not you should be!
  7. Try to manage your time well, spread your work and don’t be afraid to say “not right now”.
  8. Not everyone will like the way you do things. But if it pleases God then it can’t be bad (see point 3).
  9. Pray, pray and pray some more. God is amazing!
  10. Be humble and thankful that you have the task of planting God’s seeds.
  11. Oh and Lego and bare feet don’t get along! (See point 2.)

Have faith and be confident in what you are doing. Things won’t always run as planned, and while the children may not realise, you will learn something from it. Let’s face it, there’s always something to learn whatever your experience. And know that God’s plan for you is good, what can be more exciting than that!

About Alex Taylor

Alex Taylor is part of the children's and youth team at the Diocese of London. He is an experienced children's and youth worker and writer.

Read more from Alex Taylor

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