Why The Kids In Your Children’s Ministry Would Rather Go To “Big Church”
As the weekend approaches, countless children in America will go to church with their families. They’ll wake up early, get dressed in fancy clothes, grab a quick breakfast, and as they enter the church, they’ll walk directly past the childrens ministry entrance and into the adult service.
It’s a phenomenon that occurs year-round. Kids are making a conscious effort to avoid “their” ministry area and sit under the teaching of the senior pastor. Maybe it’s because they want to stay with their parents. It might even be because their parents encourage it, or could it be that the elementary age child gets more enjoyment doodling on an offering envelope than sitting in your children’s ministry?
Is it just me, or shouldn’t kids be begging mom & dad to get up early in order to get to church? It should be the best hour or two of their week and the excitement should be contagious!
Here are just a few ways to spice up your children’s ministry area and create an environment that keeps kids wanting instead of dreading each weekend.
1. Fun & Games
Who created the idea that you can’t have fun in church? Kids are wired to play, smile, and have a blast. Let’s come alongside of their desire to play and use it to teach.
What would happen if you decided to start your KidMin service or Bible study with a boy vs. girl donut eating competition? If they don’t have fun, your message on the trials of Paul’s missionary journey will have zero impact.
2. Tell your face that you’re happy
Just remember, zombies never smile and they always scare kids. Have you ever watched any show on the Disney channel? Their personalities are always “over-the-top” because kids are attracted to people who are “alive” with personality.
Don’t be scared to be happy and outgoing. I know it’s early, and I know you’ve had a long week, but if you want kids to be excited about coming to church, greet them with excitement. Your personality should be a brief insight into what they’ll experience in the ministry. What’s your face telling them?
3. Creativity Works!
Have you given ANY thought into how to communicate to a second grader? How long is their attention span? Will they understand the King James Version or even your choice of modern version of the Bible? What will you do or say that makes them remember the story or lesson once they leave? These are some things to consider if you want to be effective.
The story of David and Goliath is great, but would it have a greater impact if you acted it out and told the story from your own vernacular (feel free to leave the chopped head out of the story but a sword is always a win)? Be creative with YouTube videos and fun illustrations (have you seen what happens to an Easter peep in a vacuum seeled container?). These are important pieces to your ministry that keep kids guessing what they’ll experience and keep them wanting more.
4. What’s My Name?
Let it be known that Walter White wasn’t the first to realize the importance in knowing a name. Most kids go to large schools with hundreds of kids, and it’s easy to get lost among the crowds. The church should be a place where they’re known. Your children’s ministry team needs to know who they are and call them by name (think Cheers but for kids).
When people know your name, it gives you a sense of belonging and subconsciously lets you know that you belong. Kids of all ages need that sense of belonging and if they don’t feel it, they’ll stay with someone that knows them…mom and dad.
Ministry to kids has to be intentional if it’s going to be effective. Attention spans are getting shorter, and there are so many things vying for their attention, especially technology. However, with the right mix of people and creative elements your children’s area can thrive, attract kids and families, and they’ll never choose to doodle in “Big Church” again.
What strategies do you use to keep your children's ministry engaging?