Donna Hostetler, September 26, 2015
Are your local playgrounds empty on Sunday because the children are in your program? I hope so!
How important is your children’s ministry? I can’t even begin to answer that without a wealth of exclamation, passion, and high value, given the declining morals in our society. We must reach children with the gospel and encourage a relationship with Jesus.
Jay and I have done countless Children’s Ministry Evaluations—a weekend of focus groups, conversations with key leaders, observation of the ministry program, a focus on recruiting and retaining volunteers and overall ministry communication with guests and parents. We are often told the ministry is a “high priority”, but the reality doesn’t always measure up.
There are children’s ministry basics that should be addressed in every church.
What is the real value of the ministry? Not the communicated one, but the measurable one. Measurements can be made by this partial list:
- Communicating the vision and mission of the ministry—is this done throughout the year, not only in seasons of recruiting?
Your children’s ministry is often the front door of your church for young families and with a keen eye, they take a hard look and compare you to the church down the street, like it or not.
- Do you have online pre-registration, guest parking, or designated guest check-in?
- How quickly can guests check in to your children’s ministry and get their kids to a class?
- How attractive and secure is your space for kids?
- Is there an easy way for them to identify their child’s teacher or the paid leadership team?
- How often do you connect with parents to inform them of programming and their child’s learning?
- Appropriate budget dollars
There should be appropriate (not adequate) dollars to allow for current curriculum products, technology, resources, and paid team to create, organize, and effectively administrate a program weekly.
- Is your budget appropriate?
- Are your volunteers well resourced?
- Do you have enough paid team to not only run the ministry but time to develop creative ways to GROW the ministry?
- Do they have budget and opportunity to attend a conference, i.e. KidMin or a Ministry Wave Leadership Cohort to be challenged and gather new ideas?
Are you utilizing technology and innovative practices to engage the children who walk through your doors? Is your program interesting and interactive? Is there a good adult to child ratio to impact them through teaching and small group conversation? Is there a solid approach for Biblical truth and learning that is planted in kid’s hearts?
In our recent staff positions, my role was to encourage, support and help resource over 300 children’s ministry volunteers. I loved every minute of it. We cannot effectively do all that’s necessary without them! Do you have a good recruiting and retention plan? Are your volunteers trained and appreciated?
Is your house in order? I When was the last time you toured your own facility, looking at it as through the lens of a guest? You might be surprised at the things they notice. They will notice and may not return.
Clean, attractive, well-organized and secure spaces are critical for parents considering to leave their priceless babies in your nursery and classes. This is also a potential negative if you’re trying to recruit new volunteers to serve. If this space is not in order or smells, clean it up!
Ok, I will now step down from my platform. As stated in the first paragraph, I’m passionate about the importance of children’s ministry. We have to be! Eternal lives depend on it being done well.
If you would like to consider an objective perspective (Jay & I) with recommendations, give us a call!