How To Overcome Challenges In Your Children’s Ministry [Q&A]
By: Vanderbloemen November 10, 2016
We recently had a wonderful webinar, How To Build & Grow A Stellar Children's Ministry. When we opened up the webinar for Q&A, we had a flood of great #kidmin questions - too many to answer during the webinar.
We love providing assistance and equipping churches as much as we can, so we couldn't let all those extra questions do unanswered. Perhaps your Children's Ministry has faced some of these same challenges or you've had some of these same questions.
1. "How did you handle the weeks where 200 more kids than expected showed up to your #kidmin?"
When I was a Children's Pastor, these situations were few and far between, as the typical ebb & flow of attendance was fairly consistent. It wasn’t too often we were thrown offguard, but it certainly happened once in awhile. When this did happen, our plan was to lengthen our large group time as much as possible and maximize small group attendance. Any leftover kids where broken out in groups in the large group area or anywhere that was available. If I ever found myself with 200 over normal attendance, I’d scrap small group time altogether and lengthen the large group time while I had all the volunteers in one place.
2. "I am directing the Children’s Ministry for a new church plant. How do you start well when you have so little to start with - both kids & volunteers?"
This is a great question. Church plants and satellite campuses across the country deal with the same issue. I appreciate this question so much since it speaks to wanting to do things with excellence despite size. My advice is to make it fun without substituting content. A little creativity can go a long way, and if kids walk away having had a good time and grown deeper in their knowledge of God, you’re on the right track. This may work well with a younger audience but the older kids may need more relational attention in order to keep them connected. Leaning on a relational connection rather than your program for the older kids is important during the “lean years.”
3. "We have outgrown our current location & are moving into a larger building. How can we be ready for the growth when we move? How should we structure our small group time and how do you set structure, flow, & training up for large group?"
Structure is so important for your #kidmin to run successfully. In my Children's Ministry, I based our structure for both small group and large group settings around the attention spans of the age group. In order to keep kids attention, you have to constantly change things up. Our large group time was roughly 35 minutes but was broken into 5 to 6 different segments of various timeframes (i.e. worship, game, message, recap, etc.). A similar formula was used in small groups, and leaders were trained in how to manage a specific amount of time for each segment.
4. "How do you successfully implement safety & security measures in a church where the mentality is 'that will never happen to us?' How do you deal with parents that don't want to follow security rules?"
First things first: at all costs, get your leadership on board with Children's Ministry safety and security. It’s more than a huge church liability, it's making the well-being and protection of the kids God has entrusted to you a priority. If you’re in an environment that currently doesn’t value security measures, you’re likely in for an uphill battle convincing parents of the need. Nevertheless, over-communicate the “what” and the “why” of each safety measure implemented, and be consistent with your enforcement. Some parents will test the new measures (stick to the plan!), but most parents will generally understand and appreciate the steps taken if they are explained clearly and consistently. It's difficult to do when we’re discussing safety, but if you can implement certain steps in phases instead of all at once, it may be easier for families to navigate the changes.
Be on the lookout for Part 2 of this #KidMin Q&A with a focus on volunteerism within your Children's Ministry. And know that we’re always here to help equip you in any way we can. If you need help finding a high-capacity Children's Pastor, let us know.
What are some of the challenges you face with you Children's Ministry? What are other questions we can answer for you?