Proverbs 22:6 tells us that if we raise our children to know and follow Jesus, they’ll do so even as they grow old. In these words, the Bible tells us that we are the hands and feet of God in the lives of our children. To know God is more than just to make weekly visits to a building, its a daily relationship of unconditional love. When we share this walk of faith with the youngest members of our church, we mold the next generation of Christ-followers in Jesus’ name. If you’re in a leadership position at your church and looking to enrich your children’s ministry, here are just a few suggestions on how to take those next steps.
Delegation is Key
As with any other area of ministry, one person cannot handle everything alone. Be sure that you have a team of leaders to delegate roles. If your church is small in numbers, you may only have one room in which to conduct a program for kids of all ages. In these instances, have various volunteers break the kids into smaller, age-based groups to cater both learning and worship to their level. If you have the capacity for multiple classrooms, be sure to place volunteers in coordination roles per level. Equal distribution of responsibilities maintains consistency and overall structure, two things children need in order to learn.
There’s no such thing as being too prepared
Once your volunteers are set in place, make sure they have everything they’ll need to be successful. Keep an inventory of what each classroom needs on a weekly basis and ask your volunteers to update it frequently. Order what your children will need to complete their activities and crafts on a monthly basis, updating classrooms each Sunday after the final service. Supplies for churches are readily available for purchase online and can be catered to your church’s messages. Most importantly, ensure your team is equipped with proper cleaning supplies to keep classrooms safe and germ-free.
Mix it up
While consistency is key to learning, too much of the same thing grows old in time. Be aware of the attention span and amount of repetition required for new information to be retained per age group. For instance, your toddler-aged kids should have only slight changes per week with a monthly theme. Middle school groups, however, can have varying activities and prompts per week while also maintaining a monthly theme. Be creative with your activities. Have dress-up days for kids to wear sports jerseys, western apparel, or their favorite color. If you maintain a balance of consistency and variation, you’ll keep their attention.
We have the tech to do it
No parent wants their child to spend countless hours in front of screens, but that’s not to say they’re inherently bad. Integrating technology in your children’s ministry can captivate children’s attention in order to set the stage for your lesson. Create a plan that incorporates both technology and hands-on learning.
Start your children’s service the same way you start the adult’s — with worship. Whether it’s a pre-recorded video of your church’s worship team or an online resource, engage them with music that praises God. Watch a Bible story or an interactive lesson, then shut down the screens and discuss them in smaller groups. Encourage your small groups, whether they’re 2-4 or 12-14, to share their views on what you watched together. Engage in discussion and provide them with prompts to consider in the week to come.
Drawing the next generation closer to Jesus is not a small undertaking, but worth every step. Pour out what you learn from your pastors, elders, and mentors into their hearts so that they may do the same for others. In the end, we’ll have one great big family loving, learning, and following Jesus.