Do you teach Sunday School? Do you volunteer with Awana or VBS? Maybe you are in charge of the entire Children’s Ministry. Think about the Children’s Ministry at your church. Is there room for improvement? Not that there is anything wrong with what is going on presently. If Jesus is being taught, then that is what truly matters. However, there are always ways we can improve ministry. So how can you take your Children’s Ministry beyond the basics?
My church is at a crossroad when it comes to Children’s Ministry. We have good teachers. We have a new space, even though it is kinda blank. We have kids. (That’s pretty important!) But I know there is more work to do.
I received a copy of Your Children’s Ministry, Beyond Basics written by Trisha Peach and I am blown away by the amount of honest, practical information in this book. (kindle $7.99, paperback $14.99)
Don’t freak if you have a small budget. Don’t close out of this blog post if you aren’t the KidMin Pastor and you’re *only* a volunteer. If you have a church of 80, or 5,000, members…there is always room to improve!
How to Take Your Children’s Ministry Beyond the Basics like a Pro
Step 1: Learn from a Pro. Trisha has over 17 years of experience in kids’ and family ministries. While I do have about 25 years of experience under my own belt, I’ll be the first person to tell you…I don’t know everything. And while I do have a graduate degree…it isn’t in ministry. God gives us the resources we need right when we need them so we are equipped for His work. And where I am in ministry right now, I know I need help from a pro like Trisha Peach.
Step 2: Know that the enemy is real. “…and that he will use whatever he can to destroy a ministry that is thriving. So if your ministry is one of the rare ones that is actually growing, you had better be ready for a fight.” (page 4) Whenever our Children’s Advisory Team meets prayer is essential. We pray for unity. We pray for wisdom. We pray that the gospel is spread.
Step 3: During a transition period, be honest with EVERYONE. Change is hard for some people. Who am I kidding? Change is hard for me! Yet the one thing about change, is that it always happens. KidMin leaders can’t promise that there will be no change, but they can promise to make a smooth transition. Communication is key during times of transition. If you are a leader in your children’s ministry, be sure to listen to parents, volunteers, and children.
Step 4: Know job descriptions. This was an eye opener for me! I thought the only difference between a Children’s Pastor and a Children’s Director was a degree. But there is much more involved. If you do not know what is expected of you, then there is no way you can successfully perform your job. This goes for volunteer positions too. Make sure you know what is expected before agreeing to a position. However, if the position sounds daunting, but you are being called to that job, remember that God equips those who work for him.
Step 5: Assess your KidMin Space. “You want your updates to fit your church’s vision, to be functional, sustainable, and still allow for and assist with your growth.” (page 20) A great question to ask is this: What does your kids’ space say about your kids’ ministry? Before we moved our kids’ Sunday School classes to a new children’s wing, all of them were on the second floor of a cramped building. The lighting was dark. The hallways were confusing. The rooms were small. Those descriptions do not impress visiting families. Church leaders must keep in mind that families form an opinion about a church during their first few minutes there.
Step 6: If you do an outreach program, be SURE to have a follow up plan. You spend weeks and months planning an outreach and then what do you do with all of the names and addresses, etc, that you collected? I am weak with this. I’m the Vacation Bible School Director, and this is one weakness that I have seen after our VBS days. I attempted a follow-up last summer, but I never checked back with my leaders. This summer my VBS co-directors and I are going to have a plan in place before VBS begins so we do not drop the ball this time.
Step 7: Kids can understand great truths about God. Many times adults think kids can’t handle harder ideas and stories from the scriptures. Children today know more hardships than we ever knew as a kids. So why do we think they don’t need hard truths, or hopes, that will help them with those situations? When I teach my Awana kids, I do not water down the scriptures. We read the hard stuff. If something is confusing, then we sometimes have to talk it out. Sometimes I have to tell them that I don’t understand a particular passage. Adults are on a path of sanctification, and so are children. They are just as much a part of the church as big people.
Step 8: Spiritual growth should be celebrated. This seems to be obvious…but how do you measure the spiritual growth of the kids in your ministry? Do they have solid friendships? Are they active in service? Have they surrendered to Jesus? Are they mission-minded? Do they give? Sit for a minute and picture the type of young person you want your ministry to create. Now write that down. How are you going to accomplish that with what you are doing in ministry?
Are You Ready to Take Your Children’s Ministry Beyond the Basics like a Pro?
Trisha’s book has WAY more info and practical helps than I can list here. I gave you my top lessons from reading it and what I’m thinking through. I know God has a plan for my particular ministry and for the entire ministry body at my local church.
And he has a plan for you too. Click the image below to get your copy!Other topics covered in Your Children’s Ministry, Beyond Basics:
- Ministry during Tragedy
- Dealing with Special Needs
- Outreach Types and Pitfalls
- Dealing with Church Drama
- Dealing with Church Conflict
- Discipline Policies
- Dynamic Worship
Be sure to read this book with a pen and highlighter. And take one step at a time. Don’t overload yourself or your volunteers. Handle all of this with prayer. Expect resistance from the enemy.
Maybe you are at a church that really does not have a children’s ministry, but you have a vision for one. Consider Trisha’s other book: Topics include writing a children’s ministry mission statement, writing kid’s ministry budgets, choosing the right curriculum for your church’s needs, safety and security checklists, effective communication with staff, volunteers and families and effective recruiting techniques.