by Chris Corbett/ July 8, 2015
Have you ever walked into a room full of people talking and laughing and you did not know a single soul? Some people handle these types of situations well and within moments are engaged in one of the many conversations. For others, this type of setting is intimidating and avoided at all costs. Everyone likes to feel connected. We spend a great deal of time trying to belong. When kids and parents enter our children’s ministry programs, do they feel connected? Do they feel like church is a place they belong?
Some people spend their entire lives trying to find a place to “fit in.” Kids often choose their attitudes, behaviors, clothes, etc. based on what will help them feel good about themselves and/or what will get them accepted by others.
The need to belong is hardwired into us as human beings created in the image of God. We serve a relational God and from birth exhibit a need for connection.
Scripture designates parents as the primary religious instructors in a child’s life; at the same time, research suggests a child’s relationship with God develops best when parents have a faith community reinforcing the family’s Christian values. In children’s ministry we are in a unique position to provide an environment for families to feel a strong sense of community.
Here are three ways to build a sense of community in your children’s ministry:
1. Create an environment where kids and parents feel welcomed. Make it a goal to welcome as many kids and parents as possible each week. Let families know you are genuinely glad they came.
2. Utilize small groups. Small groups are a great way to connect kids with their peers and an adult who loves them. Small group leaders can also reach out to parents by connecting with them on a regular basis or planning events for families to come together to get to know one another.
3. Communicate with Parents. Communicate vision to parents and let them know how they can be a part of the vision. Keep them informed about events and seek their counsel. Consider hosting a children’s ministry open house where parents and kids can meet leaders and other families and become familiar with the ministry.
What are some other ways you are strengthening the sense of community for kids and parents in your kids’ ministry?