3 Steps Towards Developing A Great Kids’ Ministry

3 steps to essential kids ministry blogI’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 blog lego manfreeway, 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?

5 Habits That Kill Kids’ Ministries

kid toys freeI think its fair to say that every kids’ ministry needs more staff. And I don’t mean the creepy kind with no teeth and a criminal background. We need kid’s workers who love Jesus and who love kids, (even the screaming toddlers). And, I believe that God will provide all the laborers we need. The ministry and the mission is his!

But with that being said, we can still do things that undermine our kids ministry. Below are five deadly habits that regularly keep people serving and some tips for overcoming them.

  1. Poor Organization:

Nothing scares committed volunteers away faster than chaos. And we can’t blame people for avoiding a human zoo. No one would board a cruise ship whose final destination was the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. And no one is going to work with our kids if they think someone may die before the night is over.

Quick FIx:

Get organised. If we want people to work with our kids, we must empower them by creating schedules, using great curriculums, and enforcing discipline. We, the children’s leaders, must have a practical vision for our ministry that others can respond to.  Now vision will not  win everyone over on its own. But you can’t succeed without it.

  1. Lack of Vision:

Many adults think kids’ ministry exists as a holding cell for whinny, noisy, stinky kids. Many don’t serve because they don’t think kids’ ministry is a ministry. They view the kids’ wing as a swanky, religious nursery that frees adults to worship without anyone asking to go to the bathroom.

Quick Fix:kid anger free

Share our vision with our church through discussions, sermons, and training events. We need to help others see that kids’ ministries exist to strategically equip parents (and the entire church body) to declare the glory of God to the next generation! Sunday school, Wednesday night activities, and those wacky events happen because churches want to see everyone worshiping Christ together! Kids’ ministry is not just nursery, its intentional, hands-on mission and discipleship work! We need to get the word out! 

  1. A Selfish Mindset:

Those who’ve fallen into this category believe “Church is me time.” They don’t serve because God only called them to attend church. Because their life is crazy and/or hard, they think God has freed them from serving others, especially kids. Even if they have kids, this group knows that God called them to only attend Bible studies and concerts. 

Quick Fix:

First, We need to invite people to serve. Second, we explain the danger of not actively serving in church. Admittedly those who make Sunday their “adult time” or their “time away from the kids,” will have an easier day. But their day will also be far less biblical. We are called to put the needs of others before our own. (I.E. the church is not about you or me). We read in Philippians 2:2-4:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

“Yes,” some will say, “but you have no idea what my kids are like or what I have to put up with on a regular basis.” A We don’t. And we need to be considerate of others struggles. But, we need to help all see that service is not based on feelings. We serve because the God of the universe put our needs before his own comfort. We want to be like him! Help others see that our earthly comfort is not more important than a child’s salvation and find a reasonable place for them to serve. 

  1. A Quitter’s Mentality:

These adults say things like, “I did my time and my kids are grown.” In short, they’ve tapped out and have done their time.

Quick Fix:

We need to encourage people to refresh and to follow God’s call on their life. Many people exit kids’ ministry for great reasons. We should support God’s work in their life!

But we should pursue those who leave the kids’ program to retire from ministry all together. We need to remind quitters that God doesn’t put a time limit or a quota on serving the next generation. God’s missional call to reach kids involves all of his church. Ands, kids need older adults to teach them. The energy of young singles and new marrieds cannot compare to the wisdom possessed by older believers. If we want to see our kids greatly influenced for Christ, we need to expose them to the Godliest men and women in our church. And not surprisingly, most kids actually want to hang with wiser men and women!

  1. Lack of Communication:

There are people in our churches who are sitting out because they’ve never been asked to help. These adults never interacted our kids’ zone because they are single or empty nesters. They are open to serving. But they’ve never connected with a kids’ ministry worker or leader. They may have heard that their kids’ ministry needs help, but they don’t know where to begin.

Quick Fix

The solution is for somebody to directly ask them. As kid’s ministry people, we need to make an effort to interact with the whole body, inviting health believers from all walks of life to be part of our kids’ ministry.

Now its your turn! What struggles does your kids’ ministry face when it comes time to recruit?