Alabama 10-year-old leads way for special emphasis

By Carrie Brown McWhorter
The Alabama Baptist

On July 21, Southern Baptists will observe the first-ever Children’s Ministry Day, a Sunday set aside to recognize children’s ministry workers and encourage young people to be more involved in ministry. 

At the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Dallas, then 9-year-old Zak McCullar of Carbon Hill suggested a children’s ministry emphasis day be added to the SBC calendar. 

Motion approved

The motion was referred to the SBC Executive Committee (EC) for consideration and the EC agreed. 

Messengers to the 2019 annual meeting in Birmingham affirmed the EC’s proposal to designate the third Sunday in July through 2023 as Children’s Ministry Day.

Standing on the SBC annual meeting stage June 11 with EC president and CEO Ronnie Floyd, the now 10-year-old McCullar charmed messengers as he thanked them for supporting his motion.

“I’m so thankful that the Lord has used me to do His works,” said McCullar, a member of First Baptist Church, Carbon Hill, where his dad Scott is pastor. 

“And I feel blown away that 9,000 or more complete strangers would be so friendly and agree with my motion.”

The new Children’s Ministry Day joins Children’s Missions Day, held in February, as special opportunities for churches to help children better understand what ministry and missions are all about, said Heather Keller, national Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) children’s missions consultant. 

“We feel that Children’s Missions Day, promoted by WMU, and Children’s Ministry Day, promoted by LifeWay, will walk hand in hand as we celebrate children and what God is doing in their lives,” Keller said.

Scott McCullar said Children’s Ministry Day will be a day to thank all the workers who help with children’s ministry, from nursery workers to children’s church workers, those who teach Vacation Bible School and children’s Sunday School, along with recognizing the role children can play in evangelism.

Some ideas for honoring children’s volunteers include:

  • Write notes to or make cards of appreciation for children’s staff and volunteers.
  • Highlight volunteers on the church website or social media pages.
  • Give gift cards to favorite restaurants or stores.
  • Design a special shirt for volunteers.
  • Create a personal photo album of children’s programs and activities.
  • Offer VIP parking for volunteers.
  • Plan a breakfast or other recognition meal to recognize volunteers.
  • Acknowledge volunteers with a flower or small gift during the July 21 worship service.

Children’s workers are important, Zak said. 

“Jesus does a whole lot through children and through children’s workers, and children are vital to sharing the gospel,” he told SBC messengers.

When Zak addressed the EC in February about the motion, he said, “I think children’s ministry workers should be thanked by this day. And I want children to be recognized for the work we do to share Christ, even though we are young.”

Trish Jackson, missions lifestyle strategist for Alabama WMU with a focus on preschoolers through students, agreed.

“All leaders, especially our children’s missions leaders, are [integral] to the work of the church,” Jackson said. “Alabama WMU is very proud of our own Zak McCullar for his motion that has led to Children’s Ministry Day on the SBC calendar.”

For ideas on how to celebrate Children’s Ministry Day contact Trish Jackson at or 334-613-2224.

What Zak has planned

What will Zak’s church be doing on the first Children’s Ministry Day? They are actually scheduled to be on a missions trip that day, so the church will be celebrating a week later on July 28 with whatever Zak decides is best for the day.

To hear more from Zak and Scott McCullar check out the July 11 episode of the TAB News podcast. 

TAB News co-host Jennifer Rash sat down with Zak immediately following the closing of the recent SBC annual meeting to chat about his faith story, his take on participating in the meeting and what it has been like to become a fan favorite in SBC life.

Listen to the podcast anywhere you get your podcasts such as iTunes, Stitcher, etc., or find it at