By Bekah Stoneking
It’s a new year—a new decade—and while the kids ministry calendar may be in line with the school calendar, turning the page to a new year can be an opportunity to try a new approach.
Here are 20 ideas to refresh your goals and strategies in 2020.
Reconnect With Your Vision
1. Remember your awe and zeal for the Lord.
Remember why you got into children’s ministry in the first place. Let your kids see the joy of your salvation and your heart for serving the local church.
Let your passion for the Lord put the wind back in your sails and re-energize your efforts.
2. Allow this passion to overflow onto your fellow church members.
As you share what’s happening in the kids department. Don’t let, “We need volunteers!” to be the main message they hear from you.
Instead, let them hear about your love for the Lord and for kids and let them hear about all of the awesome things God is doing among the lambs in your flock.
Ready Your Leaders
3. Celebrate and encourage your leaders.
Don’t underestimate the power of a simple, personalized word of encouragement.
Plan to regularly stop by your teachers’ classrooms or to mail handwritten notes of appreciation. Let them feel seen and let them know why you value them.
4. Be intentional about equipping your leaders.
Attending a conference (like the ETCH Family Ministry Conference!) with your team is not only an opportunity for you to refresh, get new ideas, and learn, but it is an opportunity for you to invest in your leaders.
Take the new ideas you gain and sow them into your co-laborers to strengthen them for Kingdom service.
5. Recognize that “disciple maker” is the most important hat you wear.
Event planner. Volunteer coordinator. Counselor. These are just a few of the hats kids ministry leaders wear. But your most important hat is “disciple maker.”
Ask yourself, “How am I making maturing disciples of the children in my ministry?”
- Consider re-evaluating your curriculum.
- Create Bible reading plans, prayer guides, or tithe and offering charts for your kids.
- Teach kids to journal and take notes, to actively listen during sermons, and to share the gospel.
- Make sure every kid has access to a Bible she can use and understand.
6. Help kids identify their gifts.
Create opportunities for them to use those gifts to work alongside their parents or other adults in serving the church.
7. Identify needs in your community kids can help meet.
What mission projects or outreach strategies could you adjust to include kids?
8. Become tech-savvy.
Use social media and send engaging emails to connect with kids and families during the week. Text parents in honor of kids’ life events, birthdays, or to follow up on prayer requests. Brainstorm ways for your teachers to incorporate technology in their classrooms…
9. Use physical Bibles on a regular basis.
Teaching today’s tech-savvy kids to use paper Bibles—in addition to e-Bibles—will help develop vital biblical literacy skills.
Review the Calendar
10. Start planning now for your Vacation Bible School.
Nine out of 10 American adults who attended Vacation Bible School during childhood have positive memories associated with VBS.
Even among people who never attended VBS, their perception is overwhelmingly positive. Every year, millions of people participate in VBS, tens of thousands of salvations are reported, and churches engage with their communities in unmatched ways.
It’s worth it.
11. Plan special kids and family events.
In addition to VBS, camp, and other summertime events, set several dates on the church calendar for kids to interact with one another and with church members.
In addition to Sunday School, adjust church-wide activities to be more welcoming and inclusive of children.
Revitalize Your Plans
12. Evaluate local demographics.
Who lives near your church building? How old are they? Where are they from? What are their families like? What are their hobbies?
Use this data to plan for meaningful ways for your church to engage her neighbors.
13. Connect with other churches.
After understanding your church and community needs, connect with other church staffers and volunteers to tear down silos, align your vision and goals, and work together as a cohesive ministry team.
14. Work intentionally with adjacent leaders in your church.
Consider the student ministry leaders. What are your goals for kids? What are their goals for students?
Work together to develop an intentional discipleship plan from cradle to college that helps young people develop the biblical literacy skills and spiritual disciplines necessary for a lifetime of maturing faith.
Revise Your Policies and Procedures
15. Reinforce your plans for child protection and for caring for abuse survivors.
Double down on your security efforts, train your leaders to recognize signs of both grooming and abuse, learn about mandatory reporting laws in your state, and develop relationships with the professionals in your community who are trained to provide care and resources to vulnerable people.
Lock arms with fellow church leaders and communicate a clear message: We will protect our kids.
Resource Your Families
16. Partner with parents in discipleship.
Observe your congregants, identify their needs, and create individualized ways to work in tandem in raising the next generation for Christ.
17. Communicate effectively with parents.
Send home emails about what the kids are learning in church. Include ideas for how parents can have discussions, ask questions, and do hands-on activities to reinforce and build upon this learning at home.
18. Open the lines of communication between families.
Harness the power of social media and online groups to allow parents and guardians to connect with one another and to share support, ideas, and encouragement.
19. Encourage these online connections to transfer into real life.
Suggest parents and guardians join the same small groups. Identify which learning activities in your weekly emails could be completed with multiple families to foster additional connections throughout the week.
20. Provide plenty of resources.
Take advantage of the activity pages, cards, apps, or “at home” pieces included in your curriculum packages. This may mean printing extra items or budgeting for additional purchases but as regularly as possible, place content into families’ hands.
Providing these resources or curating a “library” where caregivers can preview or borrow items like children’s Bibles or Bible storybooks, parenting resources, or tools (like these, these, or these) is just one more way you can partner up and equip the home.
Rejoice in the life you’re breathing into our churches through the children God has entrusted to your care. Give thanks for these precious lives He has created in His image, on purpose, and for a purpose.
Pray for wisdom and the provisions to serve children and their families well in 2020— for His glory and for the good of His people.