Shelley Debord is a kidmin veteran in our network. Many of you know Shelley as our LIT leader for kids camp. Every year Shelley leads our teens in the Leaders in Training program. She does a great job with the teens. But we also know her as the kids pastor at Poplar Creek. We will let her tell the story, but she is a great leader at a great church.
Church and city you are currently serving at
Poplar Creek Church, New Berlin
Age group you serve
Curriculum you use
One phrase that describes your ministry style
helping kids follow Jesus in a loving and safe environment. My ministry style is who I am at my core, a Jesus loving mom.
Tell us about your background and how you became what you are today
I've been at Poplar for 43 years and have volunteered for most of those years in different areas. I met my husband, Terry at church and we have been married 31 years and have 3 adult children, a daughter-in-law, and the cutest grandson on the planet who will be a big brother next year. 15 years ago, I was a stay at home mom and was asked to be the interim children's director. The job description has changed many times over those 15 years and I currently am employed 20 hours a week as the elementary director. Because I have many kidmin volunteers who work full-time jobs, I strive to lead by example by being a volunteer too. I currently plan and prepare a monthly luncheon for our seniors and I serve on our Women's Ministry leadership team.
Tell us about a typical weekend service
Sunday mornings begin between 8:30-845am with check in to our large group room for ages preschool through 6th grade. At 9:15, we escort children to age-appropriate small groups, where they stay for 1 hour. At 10:15, K-6th grade come back to large group room for playtime and relationship building. 10:15-10:40 is a transition time for us as some children are leaving, others joining us and some staying all morning. At 10:40, we offer a snack and large group service begins at 10:45. Large group consists of praise and worship, offering, announcements, memory verse, Bible story, games, and prayer.
Tell us about your weekday ministry opportunities
We offer Mpact and Royal Rangers for preschool through 5th grade. The night starts at 6:30 with check-in and free time until 6:45. We stay together for prayer, pledges, a fun song and then we break into age appropriate small groups. The children are picked up in their classrooms. Once a month we have the large group space open after class for parents and children to celebrate birthdays, shop in our store and just hang out together.
What apps, gadgets or tools can't you live without in ministry?
People! I'm not a techy person so I surround myself with people who love apps and gadgets! I couldn't live without my laptop because as a part-time employee, I work a lot from home.
What's your best ministry advice?
Don't take advice from people you wouldn't trade places with and eat the meat and spit out the bones. I believe we are always going to have differences of opinions with people, but I try to learn something from every conversation, situation, teaching, training, etc. I try not to get hung up on the negative or the things I disagree with but instead to look for the good that I can dig deeper into.
Tell us about an interesting, unusual circumstance you face in ministry
I don't think I recognized how unusual my job was until I started getting to know other children's pastors. I have never been full-time or had admin help. Poplar runs on a lot of volunteers. I am a Director, not a Pastor and have always felt the very distinct line in the district. For whatever reason, our setup works but it's very different. A lot of our staff is related. Currently, there are 3 part-time staff people in Children's Ministry, myself, an early childhood director and a Wednesday night director. The three of us cross over into each other’s ministries and plan all events together. Sometimes it’s confusing. The other interesting and unusual thing we are facing is the number of kids that we minister to on Wednesday nights that have other church homes on Sundays.
Tell us about your ministry team and how you rely on them
Our ministry team is amazing, always evolving and developing. My gift is teaching and mentoring, so I reply on techy and administrative people a lot.
How do you keep track of your time and manage your ministry?
I am paid for 20 hours a week no matter what, even during production weeks and VBS. I do keep a personal record of my hours so when there are weeks where its super busy and I am working more hours, I find time in the weeks following to not work as many hours.
What do you do to be refreshed or renewed?
Devotions and journaling, worship music, reading, shopping, eating out, be with my family and friends, traveling
What are you reading right now? or what do you recommend?
Current - The Road Back To You and I recommend Undercover by John Bevere
What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?
Have tough skin and a soft heart
What ministry problem are you trying to find a solution?
Having volunteers and potential volunteers catch the vision and develop a passion for kids ministry at Poplar.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
What would you like to ask them?
What does a typical work week look like? What do you spend your time doing?