Children’s Ministry…from Scratch

You may be taking on a whole new step in kid’s ministry, at a new position. Or perhaps you are tasked with relaunching your church’s kid’s ministry after a time of stagnation or closure. Starting from scratch can be daunting. Do these 5 things during the first year of your launch/relaunch:

1. Get acquainted.

Learn the culture. What does this group of people hold sacred? Your leadership success in your new position will be based on the quality of your relationships, not on positional power or titles. What is working well? What seems to be broken? If you are from that church already, you have the benefit of already understanding the culture of the area. If you are new to the church, you have the benefit of seeing the systems of the church through fresh eyes. Studies show that within six months of taking a new position, the new pastor becomes assimilated into the new culture and no longer sees many of the details that stood out to them before. Take those 6 months to really SEE the people in your congregation, the community, the building, and the programs.

2. Build your team.

Do not invite people into higher leadership too soon. You must get to know people first. One of my bosses gave me great advice by saying, “Never trust the very first people that run up to you at your new church.” I have found this to be largely true. Sometimes people who left the church for fighting with the previous pastor will come back when the pastor leaves the church. Then they may try to get into your good graces right away and be placed into positions of power. New pastors can become desperate for workers/volunteers. Don’t make the mistake of putting someone into a position of leadership too soon, before you understand their character, or if they will be on board with the church’s vision and direction. It is always easier to delay promoting someone, than to ask someone to step down once you realize your mistake. See who is faithful, passionate and teachable. Beware of belittlers and criticizers — if they are bad-mouthing the previous or current leaders, they may be doing the same about you when you are not around. It is wise to take the time to pray, observe and train your volunteers. After those 6 months to 1 year, you should be able to see who will benefit your leadership team.

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Literally everything in ministry FOLLOWS vision — budget, recruiting, space, giving, and more. With a lot of prayer and input from your supervisor, come up with an easy-to-communicate vision statement for your ministry. Set up your means of communication with parents, volunteers, and staff. For some churches, text blasts work the best. For our church, we used email blasts for parent blasts and volunteer updates. We also updated our children’s ministry facebook page every week. Some churches prefer a recorded phone message. During that first year at your new ministry, discover which communication method works best for your church’s culture. Whichever method you choose, stick with it. Update it regularly and streamline all of your updates into that form of communication. In other words, pick one — don’t try to please everyone by doing everything but smoke’ll run yourself ragged. Let your parents, volunteers and coworkers gain confidence that you will regularly communicate needed information through your chosen channel.

4. Inventory everything you already have.

Books, leaders, sets, puppets, props etc. Most churches do not suffer because of what they DON’T have. Most churches suffer because they do not realize what they ALREADY have. What worship music do you have? What VBS materials? Which curriculum do you have? Sets? Costumes? This inventory will also give you a better picture of what your church has already tried — its children’s ministry history. Before you submit that first budget, find out what you already HAVE.

5. Set up some early wins.

My supervisor used to call these, “low hanging fruit.” SHOW people what you are all about. Make sure your first event (VBS, camp, family service) knocks it out of the park, so to speak — a huge success, ALL IN. Then you can SHOW your church the vision — then recruit from this vision. Thank you for all you do for Jesus and His kids!

You can access this entire magazine for free here: Edition 39

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