One of the most important elements of a church is the outreach to future generations. A church community thrives when it’s centered on being the hands and feet of Jesus starting with its elders and pouring into their infants.
Bridging the gap between these generations starts by acknowledging the unique role they play in the family as a whole. When our older generations pour the word of God into the youngest, they raise the future of their church in the path of Jesus. If you’re looking to give your children’s ministry a boost, here are three simple ways to make it happen.
1. Lead the Leaders
A successful leader is one who is equally giving and receiving. You’ve probably heard the phrase “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” well it applies greatly in this instance. If those who are pouring into your children’s ministry aren’t also receiving God’s word and message, it can lead to burnout. Establish a set course of training and serving schedule for your volunteers to ensure that they’re encouraged and fulfilled as well.
Photo by Anna Earl
When new volunteers approach the coordinators for your ministry, start with an interview. In a world where a small number of volunteers tend to do the majority of the work, it can be tempting to accept any help that comes your way. Establishing a strong, ever-growing ministry doesn’t come from reaching the right ratios, it comes from the strength of its leaders. Take the time to get to know your new volunteers, to hear their testimonies, evaluate their spiritual gifts, and set them in roles where they’ll make the most impact.
2. Be Prepared
As with most elements of life, organization is key in ministry. When you find yourself in a classroom full of toddlers, the last thing you want is a lack of structure. Implement set lesson plans that coordinate with the message their parents are hearing in service. It may seem like a large undertaking, but chances are your volunteer staff is made up of at least one educator with a gift for lesson-planning.
Photo by Andrew Pons
Equip your volunteers with tangible tools to teach their lessons. Create posters or flashcards—you could even order custom folders online that are embellished with the church’s logo to send home. Inside, provide the upcoming lesson, craft, and activities for them to review for the following week. Better yet, create the folders for the children to take their weekly lessons and projects home in. Parents can talk to their children about what they learned in church, creating unity as a family.
3. Make it Fun
Provide a Jesus Storybook Bible to your leaders and have them choose a story to dive deeper into with their kids. Help them to understand the story by acting out parts in smaller groups or creating games that correlate. For instance, if your pastor is preaching on trusting in God’s direction, have your children’s ministry read the story of Jonah and the whale. Jonah didn’t trust God and ran away from his calling. To protect his fellow men, he jumped into the storm God created and was swallowed by a whale. Have the children gather under a parachute as if inside this whale’s belly, and talk about how that must have felt. Then, have a volunteer from the outside pull the parachute away like Jonah being saved.
Photo by Ben White
At the end of the day, your children’s ministry will grow stronger as you pour into it. Prioritizing future generations to the same degree as your adult congregation enriches your church as a whole. From the nursery to the senior members, every heart is a vessel seeking God’s message and love. Implement these ideas in your church and watch his family grow.