It is easy, when one works in Children's Ministry, to be isolated. In general, the Children's Department is often at the far end, far side or the basement of the church building. Many times this is so that there is not a sound issue (either the kids disrupting the service in sanctuary or vice versa), or so that security is better for the children. But, even if your area is not at the far reaches of the church building, you can easily feel like you are not connected to the rest of the church.
Because you are not in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings, you may not know all the adults. I can't tell you the number of conversations I've had with people over the years where they have tried to help me remember who someone is by telling me where they sit in the sanctuary. This, of course, is at best hit or miss since I am not in the sanctuary most of the time. Or perhaps, you miss an announcement because it isn't in the bulletin, but was verbally announced during a service. And, of course, you generally have no idea what has happened in the main sanctuary on any given Sunday, so you can easily feel out of the loop when someone comes up to you and starts talking to you about the music, testimonies, or sermon that was given. They usually genuinely do not realize that you have no idea what they are talking about since, after all you were at church, but you were leading Children's Church at the same time.
Being isolated is somewhat part of the job, but we need to do our best to keep it at a minimum if we want our ministries to be effective. So, here are some ideas of how to stay "in the loop."
Keep in contact with your Pastor: This is something that it seems should go without saying, but it is super easy to get disconnected from your Pastor and that is a recipe for disaster. You always need to be on the same page as the rest of the leadership in your church and that begins with your Pastor. Talk to him or her and make sure he/she is aware of what is going on in your department and make sure you are staying within the focus he/she is trying to bring to the rest of the church.
Staff Meetings: Most churches have weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly staff meetings. Use these times to keep up to date. Make sure you know what is happening in other ministries of the church and make sure they know what is happening in your ministry. For me, there is nothing much more embarrassing than having a parent ask me a question about something happening at church, and I didn't even know the thing they are talking about existed. So, make sure you take good notes in your
staff meeting so that you can be up to date with all the church happenings.
Have a Support Team: For one of the classes I took recently, I had to set up a congregational support team. Basically it was four people who would help evaluate my effectiveness and training as well as support me in prayer. But they have become so much more than that to me. These four women are my "go to people" when I need prayer, when I need a brutally honest evaluation of a project, they celebrate with me when something exciting happens in ministry, or since three of them are not in my Children's Department, sometimes they fill me in about something that happened in a worship service I did not get to attend. I am always comfortable asking them questions or getting feedback from them. These women are so amazing and they help me more than I can say.
Other Children's Pastors or Directors:
Unless you are in an extremely rural area, it is probably safe to assume that there are other Children's Pastors or Children's Directors around where you minister. Try to get together with them from time to time. You don't all have to be from the same denomination to support one another. In my current area, all the Children's Pastors/Directors are invited to meet at Panera Bread about once a month. We come from various denominations and we don't all always get to go, but it's an awesome time of fellowship for those who can attend. We share about upcoming events or programs, discuss ways to deal with problems that may have come up, and just generally encourage one another. If that type of gathering isn't an option for you, go about making a connection with at least one other Children's Minister in your area...even if it is simply a phone call to check in once in a while. The support of others in your field of ministry is really something you can not do without.
Isolation is a tool the devil can use to try to defeat us in our ministries. I hope these ideas help you to find ways to avoid that pitfall.