3 Keys For A Flourishing Kids' Ministry
By: Jennifer Winge March 16, 2017
What is the secret sauce to a flourishing Kids’ Ministry? It is the question all Children's Ministry leaders ask. In our quest to find the answer, we attend Children’s Ministry Conferences, read #KidMin blogs and books, and listen to podcasts. It is a ministry that has to balance safety, fun, and Biblical truths all in an engaging and age-appropriate environment. There are so many questions to be answered. Should we provide a specific ministry for differently-abled children? How often should we ask people to volunteer? What is the best curriculum? What should our volunteer-to-child ratio be? How should we separate age groups? Snacks or no snacks?
As an Executive Search Consultant at Vanderbloemen, I have the privilege of seeing many different Kid’s Ministries in the churches I visit. I get to see a beautiful diversity of vision and method in ministering to the next generation. The truth is there is no “secret sauce,” but there are several key things I see consistently in the leaders of flourishing Children's Ministries.
1. Consistently Sharing Values & Vision
I was recently able to shadow the Children’s Minister of a large church in my home base of Houston. Throughout my time with her, I heard their core values being discussed. There was no PowerPoint presentation, but they were present in the conversations with the volunteers - a line here or there stating how they'd just fulfilled a value.
Does your Kids' Ministry have core values that support your church’s values? Do your KidMin volunteers and parents know what those values are? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, this may be a great opportunity to get together a group of volunteers, parents, and staff to either create values or assess the ones you have. The greatest way to make sure values are known and owned is to be intentional about living those values out and sharing the “win” moments of seeing those values in action.
2. Valuing Volunteers
We all know we could never pull off Children’s Ministry without volunteers. As leaders, it is so easy to get caught up in being “in” ministry that we forget to “do” ministry. To say a Kids' Ministry leader has to wear multiple hats on a Sunday is an understatement. The one thing I've noticed about flourishing Family Ministries leaders is that they spend a large portion of their time valuing volunteers. They make rounds during the services to say hello to volunteers. They ask about their families, ask if they need anything, and thank them for being there and making a difference. As the leader of a Kid's Ministry, they still have other responsibilities to take care of, but they always make time to engage with the volunteers.
3. Engaging With The Kids
Of course part of being the large group leader is engaging with the kids, but calling a child by name when you pass them on their way to their small group means the world to them. Set your nametag printer so those names are obnoxiously huge and call those precious kids by name. Give them a hug, tell them you like their shoes, or tell them you loved their energy in worship. Engage with the children and their families, and you will be well on your way to a thriving #KidMin.
What are your thoughts? What is the “secret sauce” you have seen or used to make your Kids’ Ministry flourish?