I’ve talked with children’s workers all over the South. Regardless of the size of their church, we all have the same passion for reaching kids with the gospel. But to do so effectively, we must be prepared for the children we will interact with. We must create times, spaces, and lessons that facilitate the proclamation of Christ crucified. After 15 plus years in kids’ ministry, I have can point to three things that keep kids’ ministries thriving:
1. Get Organized: Whether we are teaching 3 kids or 300 hundred, we must be organized. We should plan activities and lesson in advance. Each teacher needs to know what their roll is and how to fulfill it. The teacher lecturing needs to have his lesson prepared, including analogies, stories, and activities to engage the kids. The teacher leading the craft needs to have all the supplies in the room before the kids arrive. And remember, our classes begin when the first child arrives and end when the last child leaves. When we host lock-in at FBCE, we have the kids watch a movie both as they arrive and about 10 minutes before they leave. This way kids who arrive 30 minutes early and those who leave 45 minutes late have something to do.
2. Get Your Building Ready: One of the biggest turn off for new parents is dirty, old
facilities. If the paint is peeling off the ceiling, if there is a hole in the wall, or if the playground backs up to a freeway, parents aren’t going to trust you with their kids. I don’t care if your kids’ director is Charles Spurgeon. New families will not stay. You wouldn’t house a corvette in an old barn. Don’t put your kids, the future of your church, in a dark, dirty basement fit for child-molesters. I’m not saying you have to spend a million dollars on constructing an indoor playground to reach kids. But, you may need to spend some money here or there to clean things up, to make things healthy. To reach young families, we need facilities that look clean and that smell like Lysol.
3. Prioritizes Safety: Run background checks on all your workers; maintain worker to kid ratios; and, regularly sanitize your toys. But most of all keep your program orderly. If parent’s fear that their kid’s glasses will get broken when they attend your church, they won’t come. (I can speak from experience on this one.) I like to joke that as long as drop-off and pick-up look orderly, it doesn’t matter what you do the rest of the time. And while touch overstated, the sentiment is true. If parents sense that things are chaotic they will not leave their kids. Fight to keep things orderly and safe. Workers will buck you on safety issues and kids will not always like having to follow the rules. But the success of your kids’ ministry depends on you keeping everyone safe. Don’t give up!
Admittedly organization, good facilities, and safety doesn’t produce salvation. But they do open the door for gospel proclamation. If we don’t do these things, we limit our opportunities to minister to parents and to reach kids. And here is the sad thing. Parents and kids who find your church scary, don’t necessarily move on to the next church. They may simply just dropout because their relationships, their connections are to you and your church. Maximize your opportunities to reach the world for Christ. Get prepared to minister to the next generation!
What steps have you taken to reach faithfully reach the kids in your community?