A silo is a tall cylinder found on a farm. This is used to store stuff, and to keep it separate. I have heard a lot of talk about ministry silos within the church. If you’re in ministry, then you know what I am talking about. Maybe you have never called them that, or heard the term, but you have seen it. Ever see a youth pastor and children’s pastor fight over the budget? Or maybe over the use of the bus. This may be the extreme, but this does happen. It can be as simple as the leader of one ministry not being sensitive to the needs of another. To some degree this is only natural. I mean as a Children’s Pastor I believe that children’s ministry is the most important ministry in the church. However, the youth pastor feels the same way about youth ministry, and the worship pastor feels that way about the music ministry. While they are clearly wrong, I think you see my point. Sometimes the leaders of different ministries become so focused on their ministry that they become insensitive towards the others. This is what we can ministry silos.
Well, this is not just something that happens between ministries, if we are not careful this can happen within our own ministries as well. As a children’s pastor, of course, my perspective is that of children’s ministry. As such, I think of these kinds of things as they would look in children’s ministry. However, I believe that this could happen in any ministry.
In children’s ministry there exist many programs. This can include children’s church, Sunday school, midweek programming, VBS, the list goes on and on. In each of these programs there are people serving that are passionate about what they do. In fact sometimes these people can allow their passion for the program they serve in to over shadow the bigger picture. Well meaning, passionate people can become so focused on their program that they forget that there is more to ministry than just that program.
I want the people that I serve with to be passionate. I even want them to be passionate about their program. But, I want them to have a greater love for children that for that program. Here is a little test; as the people on your team if they love children more than they love their program. Naturally most of them will answer that they love children more. Then ask them if you were to end their program how many of them would be back next week to help. Many of them would probably say that they would be back, but the truth is many of them would not. If they would not be willing to help with the new program, then they love their program more than they love children’s ministry. This may seem harsh, but that’s how I see it.
What about if you asked a person to move from one program to another, do you think they would move? Would they be happy about it?
If you have silos within your ministry then I encourage you to take steps to bring everyone together as one children’s ministry team. I would love to hear some of the things that you do to build a sense of team among all of the workers within your children’s ministry.Matt Norman
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