Most local churches want to see kids on Sunday mornings. Some churches may be in the phase of the life cycle or in a location that may make this seem impossible. Other churches are busting at the seams with kids worship happening concurrently with Sunday morning worship.
Still, some others may be stuck in the middle. They may have a Sunday School hour. They may be doing weekly kid’s club ministry where they minister to scores of children, but not seeing as many on Sunday mornings or a combination.
This post is for churches who want to increase their Sunday morning children’s ministry. Here are some thoughts:
Understand Your Main Goal
The primary church leaders must understand and articulate their motivation and goal for having kids in the building on Sundays. If it’s just to get back to a past time of a full house with families everywhere, it’s probably never going to get there. Memories increase beyond recognition with years. There’s really no way to get back to the good ‘ole days. But if your goal is to help kids experience Christ and figure out ways to serve families in your neighborhood and your community, then you’re off to a good start! It’s a hard road, but you’ve got a good mission.
Hire / Appoint A Kid’s Ministry Leader
To be effective in getting kids involved, you will need a consistent leader helping to build relationships and build a team.
It All Works Together
Preaching, welcoming, worship, music, relationships, and energy. It all works together and as the church begins to raise up excellence in one or more areas, others will follow. Meet with your pastor or leaders. Get a vision for making your church kids and family friendly. Update space and increase hospitality. Create new rituals for kids in worship. Get the tools you need in place. However, more money in the budget and newly renovated rooms don’t draw kids in. That requires intentional work and invitation, but the extra effort to increase the budget and space will help keep students once they are connected.
Start With Who You Have
Minister with those who respond. Start with the children you have attending and do your best each week to help connect, inspire and energize them. Talk with them about inviting friends, neighbors and relatives.
Talk About What Is Coming Up
Sometimes, we need good old-fashioned advertisement. What is your theme for the month? What will your ministry be working on next Sunday? What fun surprises do you have planned for next week to tease your children with and encourage them to return? What cool one time guest can you invite to be a part of the kids ministry in a few weeks?
Involve The Church
What would it be like to be a kid-focused church? We could talk about this all day. But what if the sole focus of a congregation was to minister to kids in the community whether you had them in your church or not. What would it be like if all the adults in the church volunteered to help during lunch and playground duty at the local schools? What would it be like if the church building was geared toward kids? What would the budget look like if we invested money in hiring a children’s ministry leader, updated the spaces, and increased our focus on the mission to kids? Dream big! Invite an adult or two from the church to join you for a day in the Sunday School. Invite the pastor to get a guest preacher and spend a Sunday with kids. Have someone video the interaction and create a video for the congregation to watch. Put updates of what has been happening in the church publications. Help get kids connected to leaders in the church. Talk positively about the church and the people in it.
Old Fashioned Attendance Rewards
Figure out a way to “thank” those kids who are there regularly. Set up simple systems to encourage them. Get out some poster board and set up a streak and see who can keep it going for the month or six weeks. Short spurts are more encouraging than an entire semester or year. Make some attendance awards, even for month-long streaks, really amazing!
Have a special event on a Sunday morning. Invite a student to come share a testimony. Invite someone to come do balloon animals. Invite someone to do come do a skit/monologue on the life of the Bible story you are teaching. Set up a day when you rent inflatables outdoors for the morning. Have refreshments and call it a family day.
Do you have a contact list for every parent and grandparent and child in your church? Do you have emails, phone numbers or addresses for all the kids you have come in contact with this year? Depending on the number, this may be digital or handwritten, but you must do the hard work of not only compiling this list but reaching out through it. Keeping people informed and invited on a regular basis is a huge step. If you have 5 hours to give each week, I would give one hour to cultivating and connecting with the list.
Parents Seminar / Class
One unique approach might be a short term class or one time event for parents at the same time as kids ministry. What if you offered a parenting class, a financial help class or some other specific to the home and family topic. The parents can be welcomed and poured into and the kids can get into the groove of being in children’s ministry.
Don’t Limit Yourself
Too often, church leaders plan for only the kids they know of in their church. That vision is too small. Plan and prepare and work toward thinking about children all around your town. Think about the school district as your mission field. Increase your vision and goal.
Develop good systems for volunteers to serve, for the curriculum to be ready, for expectations on leaders to stay in front. Once your systems are in place, you can use most of your energy for reaching out and cultivating new children. Reaching out and inviting without being sure about the quality of the program would be a mistake.
Did someone new show up? Get the contact and follow up! Did someone help you this Sunday? Send them a note of thanks. Did a kid bring up a prayer request relating to the family? Follow up and double check on them.
Pray For A Stirring
Pray that God will give you and your church a passion for reaching out to kids in your community!
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