Six Mistakes You Might Be Making in Children’s Ministry
The Bible seems pretty clear about the value we are to place on children. Jesus said, “let the little children come to Me.” (Mark 10:14). Solomon tells us that children are a reward (Psalm 127:3). It stands to reason that these attitudes should extend to how we treat our children in the church, yet in some churches, children’s ministry is seen as more of an afterthought. That is not to say our primary focus should be on ministering to the children, but many churches could see a great deal of growth if they focused a bit more on this area!
Does your church make any of these mistakes within the children’s ministry?
Do you offer children’s ministry, or don’t you? Some churches don’t (preferring to integrate the whole family into the main service), and that’s okay! But if you believe your church is called to offer that ministry to kids and parents, do it every week. Make sure someone is always available to work in children’s ministry. Create a lesson plan and a service order so that even a substitute can easily carry on with the plan without any fuss or confusion.
Not acknowledging your workers
Most people will tell you they don’t want recognition. But it sure doesn’t hurt! Children’s ministry workers typically make a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes there are periods where they don’t get to be in “big service”. They miss out on fellowship because they are cleaning up or waiting for parents to pick up their children. You don’t have to make a big deal about it (some people really don’t like to be put in the spotlight) but a simple “thanks”, an occasional special treat (donuts or coffee sound good!), or a handwritten card all go a long way to keep morale up!
Not supporting your leaders
I have seen people labor on pure love for children’s ministry. They don’t mind using their own resources and doing a lot of footwork to make it a great experience for the kids. These people are an inspiration to all of us, but don’t make the mistake of taking people like this for granted. Communicate with your leaders and workers to see what their needs are. Do they need access to the copy machine? Do they need funds to pick up prizes for the children? Maybe they could use help finding ideas for activities (some may need to use the church’s internet or other resources). Make sure they feel like they aren’t doing it all on their own!
Expecting too much from volunteers
Are you expecting volunteers to read your mind? Are you scheduling certain individuals too often, or maybe disregarding their schedule preferences? It’s important to take a step back and realize that perhaps what you are willing to give, is not something someone else is comfortable with in this season of their life. You don’t need to coddle volunteers per se, but at least aim to be sensitive to their needs.
Not having a dedicated area for kids
I know sometimes circumstances dictate that space is used for other needs of the ministry, but kids need their own space! Volunteers need a “workplace” to take ownership of, and families need that well-cared for space to invite other families with confidence. It doesn’t have to be state-of-the-art or overly flashy, but at least bright, clean, and fun! Kids will look forward to coming, and will even invite their friends. Parents will be confident in leaving their children as they go off to the main service if they know the facility is safe and sanitary.
Having no structure
Walk through your children’s ministry from the perspective of a visiting parent. Do they see a drop-off system complete with sign-in sheet (or computer system) and a way to communicate important information about their child (like name, age, toileting “status”, food allergies, or other special instructions)? Do the workers have name badges, and T-shirts to distinguish them from other parents? Also important: do the children know what to anticipate? Create a service order so that events happen roughly in the same way from one service (and one teacher) to the next.
This week, take a mental inventory of your church’s children’s ministry. Bring it up to your leaders and volunteers. Prayerfully evaluate each area to see if you might be making any of these mistakes (or any not covered here) and ask God to show you how to begin to make changes!
What are some mistakes you’ve seen in children’s ministry?
Becky is a wife of nine years and stay at home mom to four young children. She aspires to encourage women in Biblical truth on her blog, Happy Christian Home