by David Reneau/ December 27, 2018
I've been asked recently what I would consider a successful children's ministry.
There are a lot of things to do in kids’ ministry. We often do Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night programs; VBS; egg hunts; fall outreaches; small groups; and so much more. It's easy to get overwhelmed with what you need to do next and what needs to be the top priority.
The following are three fundamentals for a successful kids’ ministry. I believe if you focus on these three fundamentals, you will have a successful ministry, regardless of what programs you are running.
In today's world, safety must be your top priority. I list this first, because if the parents don't think your children’s ministry is safe, they won't leave their kids, and they won't stay at your church.
A mom’s first question, if she’s leaving her children with you usually is, "Are my kids going to be safe?" They want to know that everyone is background checked, that you have a solid check-in system, first aid kits are well stocked, and people are trained in CPR and first aid. Moms also like having a police presence.
All of this sends the message that you care about their kids’ safety and that they will be as good or better after your care than they were before. Take some time to think through your safety procedures and train your team to be prepared in case of emergency.
The first question a parent will ask their kid after picking them up is, "Did you have fun?" For kids, fun is their work. If they're not having fun, they're not going to want to come back. If they do come back, they can be disruptive or rebellious to those in authority.
So, what do you do? Go through every element of your service and ask yourself how you can make this fun. From the time the kids get dropped off to the time you're waiting for them to get picked up, they should be enjoying themselves. Have games for them to play with leaders, have group games to play together during small group and large group time. Be funny in your presentations and keep them involved throughout the lesson period.
I'm not saying that you can't have serious or calm times. If you want the kids to engage in your presentation of the gospel message, it is important that they have some fun and less serious time before it is presented. If they can have fun with you, your team, and/or their friends, they are far more likely to listen to what you have to say.
I've gone back and forth on this word for some time, but the central theme here is that your kids are learning about Jesus and how to live like Christ. This is what sets you apart from Chuck E. Cheese and Disney. We have the greatest message to share, and it's important that we share it with excellence so that kids not only know the Scriptures, but how to apply them.
Safety gets kids in the door, fun gets them to stay and engage, and discipleship builds a lifelong authentic faith.
Regardless of how busy you are, what you're doing, or what curriculum you're using, you must have these three fundamentals. They undergird everything you do and set you up to have a lifetime of fruitful ministry.