Ideas come and go. Some are acted upon, others never do more than occupy the brain cells that created them. But I do know this: ideas always spur on thinking. One crazy idea might lead to another idea that transforms our ministry. One simple idea may be tweaked to become amazing! Hopefully scanning this list increases your ministry. Use what you can to further the work of reaching children in the name of Christ. This practical, yet random list of ideas was shared during a training at one of The Light Kids Conference Leader Sessions.
[You can find out more about the Kids Conference here]
This can work for your closing prayer time. Stand in a circle, blow some bubbles. As kids pop a bubble, they must mention the name of someone or a situation they would like to pray for. Close in prayer holding hands.
Line up four people who each take a Sunday to be “on call” at church. Their only job is to come ask the children’s ministry leader on Sunday morning, “Are you all set and ready or do you need anything today?” If someone didn’t show up to teach or lead, the sub for the week jumps in to take over for the day. If nothing is needed, that person just goes on to worship or to whatever else they were working with. There are other ways to arrange this as well. The children’s worker might ask people to be on call, and then just call that person that day or to go through a list of subs for that day when someone can’t make it. I have found a great first step is to invite people to substitute in children’s ministry groups and classes. They get their feet wet without a long commitment.
Kingdom View Days
Help children (and families) get a larger view of the scope of the Kingdom by taking part in missions around the world. You can bring these experiences to the kids by having them listen to someone who has served with a ministry. You can have them do a project or hands-on help to raise money or hands-on help (packing backpacks, etc). Some ideas might be the Heifer Project, Operation Christmas Child, Compassion, etc. You can also arrange close to home ministry such as food pantries and homeless shelters. Think of ways for kids to experience tangible giving, serving, and helping.
Expect your children to memorize scripture, pray out loud, talk about Jesus, and be respectful in worship for the hour.
Rewards and Giveaways
Figure out ways to reward and treat children in your ministry. Too often, children’s ministry leaders try to be fair. Fairness has it’s place, but if a child does something excellent, has perfect attendance or accomplishes something big, bring them to the front, tell everyone why you are giving this person something, then present it boldly! Other children will aspire to achieve these things. And the children who was singled out will remember it for a long time. Idea: Give something comparable to a new bike to any child who was at Sunday School every Sunday for the whole school year.
When someone brings a friend, make a big deal about the friend and the child who brought a friend. It doesn’t have to be gushy during the day, but be sure to send them both a postcard, thanking the friend for being there and a special thanks to the child who invited.
Celebrate What You Want Repeated
Have some children brought friends with them? Did any kids serve in ministry (kids choir or other special worship component)? Have kids behaved well? If there’s something you can celebrate with them, they will keep repeating that behavior.
More Yelling Typical Equals Less Planning
This is anecdotal, but I have found that the more yelling of instructions the leaders have to do, the less it seems things were organized in advance. Determine to “yell” instructions less by planning and preparing more.
Figure out a way to have some family worship components. This can be as part of regular worship or special family worship services. Some ideas might include children, parents and grandparents looking up scripture together, writing a prayer, singing songs, telling faith stories, watching a video, etc.
Notes To Kids
Kids don’t get mail very often and when they do, it’s a treat! Send notes and letters when a child does something great, when someone returns after being sick or when you’ve missed them for a couple weeks.
“The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like” Series
Do a series on what the kingdom of Heaven is like – there are so much practical and simple imagery for kids to experience. You can look for something lost around the room, you can do skits around a story, you can do art around the story of the lost pearl or treasure. Here’s one quick google search you can try.
Let Kids Decorate For Something
Involve the kids in decorating for a special event, a holiday or any other simple thing you can think of.
The Prayer Wall
Create a place for prayer requests. You can use yarn and clothe pins, Post It notes, or a sheet of drywall.
The Question Jar
Have kids ask questions, place them in a jar, and when you have time to fill, just pull out the jar of questions, pick out a question and answer it. Some questions will be funny while others are serious. Treat them all with respect and answer them the best possible. Obviously, leaders reserve the right to not read or answer a question.
The Idea Box
Gather ideas from parents, leaders and children. Make a space available for ideas and see what people are thinking. You can also do this with an email or online survey to leaders or parents. Insights gained from inviting ideas can be really powerful.
Upgrade Gathering Times
The first few minutes when children arrive are important. Upgrade that time to include welcome music, a video, an easily explained activity, specific conversations with adults, etc. Set expectations for teachers and leaders to be there early enough to be prepared and to have time to connect with children (and their parents) as they arrive.
Play Hide The Shoe
Here’s a great game when you need some time filler in ministry. One volunteer goes out of the room. Another volunteers hides something – a shoe, a key, a ball, anything. Make sure all the kids know where the object is hidden. The volunteer from outside comes in to the room with the objective of finding the hidden item. The whole group is involved as they are going to be singing a song (Jesus loves me or something else). As the hunter is looking for the object, the whole crowd sings loudly or softly depending on how close the person is to the thing that’s hidden. You’ll need to run through this with the whole group once while the volunteer is outside. Think of it like the game of hot and cold, only with loud and soft singing.
Follow the Arrows
Do your children’s group have to walk to the big room? Do they come down from the sanctuary? Do they check in? Use arrows on the floor (varying colors if needed) to lead kids to the right rooms and spaces.
Ask The Pastor
Invite the pastor to come in for a large group children’s ministry event and let kids ask the pastor questions. It will not only be a great way for a connection, there will no doubt be some great teaching moments and probably some funny ones too!
Have you picked up the two new animated videos? Great for singing along to or playing as kids are coming in to worship. It’s free to download! >>> click here.
MOTION SONG DVD’S
Motion songs are great for children’s ministry! They help kids connect to music, actively worship and learn songs quickly. We’ve recently recorded the third volume of the Harvest Motion DVD’s and your welcome to take a look!