Hi, I’m Zach Shaffer.

Saugatuck, MI

Phone Number

(260) 388-3503


[email protected]


Third Coast Community Church
Family Life Pastor


Moody Bible Institute
BS in Biblical studies

Church Affiliation


Years In Ministry

10 years




Teaching, recruitment, discipleship, leader development, social media, and video editing

Tools & Software

Church Community Builder, Microsoft Office Suite, Planning Center Online, ProPresenter


Wife: Andrea, married for 10 years
Kids: Son - Lane (9), Daughter - Leena (7), Son - Landry (1)

Top 3 Strengths




Family Pastor Questionnaire Responses
Personal Info
Please share briefly how you became a Christian.
I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home. My parents were both in ministry and I grew up loving to serve and be in church. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior at 6 years old. At a young age, I was able to serve in ministry with my parents and felt a calling to ministry as an elementary student. I have had a passion since then to reach and minister to kids and students and to teach them that they are not just the church of tomorrow, they are also the church of today and they can make an impact today!
How would you describe yourself?
  • Fun
  • Motivational
  • Flexible
  • Inspirational
  • Loving
  • Organized
Personality Type
Tell me about some people (i.e. authors, mentors, and ministry leaders) that have had a big impact on you.
Some people that have had a major role in my life are: my parents, Phil Vischer, and Jim Wideman. My parents were in ministry ever since I was a child and this inspired me to be in ministry myself. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be in ministry and I learned from the best. I love how Phil could take a simple vegetable and use that to teach kids about God and the Gospel. He has inspired me to think outside of the box and to always be creative in my teachings. Jim Wideman is a pillar in the world of children’s ministry. He has set a standard and blazed the trail back when children’s ministry was a foreign concept. He has shown me that the world is constantly changing and we have to make sure that we are always adapting and meeting children and families where they are at.
How do you plan to engage and inform parents or guardians about your ministry objectives and progress?
Parent’s and families are vital to the success of a children’s ministry. As a children’s ministry, we only have a short time each week with their kids, so parents/guardians have the responsibility of discipling their kids. Because of that, we want to partner with them and help/guide them through this process. Some of the ways that I engage with parents/guardians are: Parent Talks (quarterly talks about current issues/events), monthly newsletters, weekly parent emails, weekly volunteer emails, regular volunteer training/fellowship, and most importantly develop a spiritual pathway. When you have a spiritual pathway, this shows leaders and families what your goals/objectives are for each age of children and what/how you will be helping them grow spiritually.
Tell me about a time when you developed a new team of volunteers into a strong working group. What did you do?
Children’s Ministry cannot function properly without a strong team behind you. One thing that I always work on in my ministries is creating a Core Leadership team. This core leadership team helps to take regular volunteers to the next level. When you give them more responsibilities, they begin to take ownership in the ministry. When volunteers take ownership in the ministry the catch the vision and bring in other high capacity leaders into the ministry. When I created the core leadership team, I saw an increase in recruitment and the leaders that were serving were not just there to check off a box, they had a passion to serve.
How would you alleviate the confusion when you are communicating with volunteers and it becomes apparent that they don’t understand what you’re saying or vice versa?
The best way to clear up confusion is to listen. When there is clearly confusion or somebody doesn’t understand, I usually ask them if they understand what I am saying or if they have any questions. I also believe that the more you understand your volunteers and how they communicate, the better you can communicate to them in the best way for their personality.
Spiritual Growth
Once you lead a student/child to Christ, how do you communicate their decision to their parents? Once a child accepts Christ as their Savior, how do you begin discipling them?
Accepting Christ as the Lord of your life is the most important decision that you can make, and we want to celebrate that! I in the past have had a personal conversation with the parent’s after the child has made this decision to talk about how they can help their child grow in their new relationship with Christ. A book that I usually have on hand is “I’m a Christian Now” by Lifeway. I encourage parents to go through this book with their child. In this way I reinforce that the parents are the primary people to disciple their kids.
As the spiritual leader of the children’s ministry, how are you going to help volunteers grow in their faith?
As the spiritual leader, it is important for me to continue to pour into my volunteers. At each of our weekly huddles, we have a devotional and prayer time to prepare us for the ministry day ahead. At every meeting or training, we dive into a time of prayer for our ministry, each other, and the families that we minister to. For my core team, we have also gone through book studies together to help grow in our faith as well. I also want to make sure that our volunteers are not getting burnt out by serving all the time and not being in service. My wife and I regularly encourage our leaders to make sure they are filling their cup by going to service.
Ministry Growth
What is your philosophy of ministry?
My philosophy of ministry is “KNOW, GROW, GO.” We want kids to KNOW Christ by making a decision to follow Him, GROW in their relationship with Christ, and GO out and tell others about Christ. We do this by categorizing our events/discipleship/services into three different categories: EXPOSE, EQUIP, and EXPERIENCE. Our EXPOSE events are events that expose children and families to Christ and His love (Trunk or Treat, Easter Events, etc.). Our EQUIP events equip children and families to live a life for Christ (Kids Sunday Service, Wednesday Night clubs, etc.). Our EXPERIENCE events allow children and families to experience sharing the love of Christ with others (Mission trips, service projects, etc.).
What was the most creative idea you introduced in your last ministry role? What steps did you take to implement that idea with leadership, volunteers, and families if applicable?
One of the most creative ideas that I have had is allowing our 4th and 5th graders a chance to learn about serving in the church and taking them on a mission trip of their own. We created a ministry called H.I.S. Kids (Helpers In Service). This was a ministry where we taught and trained our kids how to lead worship, teach a Bible story, teach them how to run sound, etc. This shows our children that serving in the local church is important and vital! Our mission trip that we took them on was local and they learned how to tell a Bible story, how to lead worship, and how to lead somebody to the Lord. It is absolutely amazing to see kids ministering to other kids.
How would you evaluate systems and structures to see if there could be improvement?
Systems and structures are great tools in ministry, but we always need to be willing to change or improve those systems and structures. One way that I have been able to evaluate is having a strong leadership team around me that can speak into the ministry and into things that I am doing right and wrong. Giving people the permission to speak truth into myself and the ministry is one of the healthiest things I have ever done. When you don’t take those things personal, you can look at what they are saying, and you can improve personally, and you can improve your ministry as well.
Share with me what you would do to deal with a fast-paced, always changing environment. Have you had this experience in a previous position?
Ministry has been a very fast-paced, changing environment lately and we have all had to adapt, especially this year. Throughout COVID, our ministries have changed. We have had to be more intentional about our connections, and also adapt and improve our technology. When COVID hit, our church began to do at home church for not just adults but kids as well. We delivered care packages regularly (One being an at home egg hunt since our Easter event was canceled this year). COVID taught us to adapt in a much more rapid pace than normal, stretched us out of our comfort zones, and helped us to be more intentional in our connections.
What goals have you set in the past for your ministry area. Did you accomplish them and if so, how did you accomplish them?
Some of the goals that I have made in the past are: Increase volunteers in ministry area, increase attendance in ministry areas, and develop a quarterly parent talk to discuss current events or issues families are experiencing. Looking back at these, most of these goals were met, but of course COVID made an impact on these as well. We increased volunteers by personally asking members, having one on one conversations about why they would be a great fit in the ministry, and encouraging other volunteers to recruit others as well.
What would it take to grow a kid’s ministry program?
In order to grow a kid’s ministry, you need: strong volunteers who have caught the vision and have a passion for kids, resources to effectively minister to families, and church that believes in reaching and ministering to the next generation. Our volunteers are everything to the success to the ministry. When you have volunteers that are passionate, they go the extra mile and find new and creative ways to reach kids and families. When you have resources, you can effectively serve kids and their families in a way that you can focus on pouring into the families and the volunteers. When the church that you serve in believe in reaching the next generation, the ministry is able to fully grow.
Your members/guests and their families come to church with specialized needs, different learning styles, and family stresses. Do you have a strategy to provide significant ministry to meet these needs?
We always try to accommodate every child/family and their situations the best that we can. With different special needs, sometimes it is necessary to have a meeting with the family to see what works best for that child. Ideally, it would be great to have a volunteer one on one with these kids, but that is not always the case. The best way to provide significant ministry to these families is to create a ministry that is specifically designed for them. They need extra attention and special teaching and environments to effectively minister to them.
Describe the diversity of some of the ministries with which you’ve worked. How did you go about learning and educating yourself in order to effectively reach your community?
In one of my recent ministries, we ministered to a lower income trailer park. I was able to interact with some of the students and invite them into our ministry. At first, it was pretty rough trying to create unity among the students, but then we were able to allow them to connect organically and it was great. When communication became authentic, so was the relationships. In order to learn and educate ourselves, we have to listen to others who are different. We have to be willing to hear others side and be willing to meet people where they are at. When we can do that, we can effectively reach our community.
Is there a process that you go through when choosing a platform for screening volunteers, curriculum choices?
When screening volunteers, it’s always important to protect the children in our ministry. In my process, there is always an application, an interview, a background check, and a chance to shadow in the ministry. Each piece of this process is vitalthe application gives you background information, the interview allows you to get to know them personally and you can cast vision, the background check protects the ministry, and the shadowing allows the volunteer to see where they fit best in the ministry. When I choose curriculum, I look at what would be best for that specific ministry. Each ministry is different. Some might need more hands-on activities, others might need more discipleship, and some might need to focus on more large group style. When you have a strong leadership team around you, you can determine what style is best for your ministry. One of the most important pieces that is important to me in a curriculum is that it is Gospel centered. Crafts, worship, and activities can be changed, but teaching the Gospel and the Bible is the most important piece.
What have you done in the past to ensure your church has a safe environment, including emergency procedures.
Some of the best ways to make sure that your ministry is safe and has good emergency procedures is to lean on experts in your church and community. Getting input from police officers, fire departments, children’s daycares, and others is a great way to make sure that your ministry is prepared for worst case scenarios and that your environment is up to code and the safest it can be for the children.
How would you describe the ideal relationship between senior/lead pastor and kids pastor?
I think that the ideal relationship between a lead pastor and a kid’s pastor starts with mutual respect. The Kid’s Pastor needs to be able to take the vision and mission of the Lead Pastor and replicate and adapt that vision and mission for the kid’s ministry. I believe that the Kid’s Pastor also has to feel comfortable enough to speak into the Lead Pastor so the Lead Pastor can also understand the vision and importance of the kid’s ministry to the church as a whole. When this happens, both the kid’s ministry and the church as a whole thrives.


Phillip Amburgey || (260) 515-7689 || [email protected]
Dawn Adkins || (850) 363-6597 || [email protected]
Derek Laird || (616) 834-1230 || [email protected]
Jason Scoles || (616) 970-4888 || [email protected]

Favorite Bible Story

Elijah and the Prophets of Baal

Favorite Scripture

Isaiah 40:31