3 Ways to Help Children Feel Welcome in Your Ministry

1

HugIf you haven’t seen it yet, I
encourage you to check out Group founder Thom Schultz’s blog. He’s doing a series based
on his new book, and he discusses things people today want to find
in a church-what he calls the “Four Acts of Love.” One of those
Acts of Love is Radical Hospitality.

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“…We found
that most congregations believe their churches are friendly and
hospitable,” says Thom on his blog. “But they tend to make that
critique based on cosmetic things that most people don’t equate
with a true welcome.

“(In our
book) we describe how Radical Hospitality is NOT:

  • greeters at
    the door
  • meet-and-greet time in the service
  • an espresso
    bar
  • parking lot
    attendants
  • awarding
    prizes for bringing visitors

“Instead,
Radical Hospitality begins with extending the kind of genuine
welcome that Jesus demonstrated. He exemplified an unconditional
love for the misfits, the outcasts, the weak, the young, the
broken, the prostitutes.”

That got me
thinking. How welcoming are we to kids who some may consider
misfits or outcasts? What could be worse than having a child come
into your ministry, not feel welcome, and not want to come
back?

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In this blog
posting, I want to share some simple ways we can help kids have a
sense of belonging in our ministry.

***

1. Build Communication.
Sometimes what scares kids is other kids. They need to learn how to
talk to one another. By playing simple icebreaking games and
including time for conversation, you’re fostering friendship and a
sense of community.

2. Ownership. Something I
personally found great success with is allowing kids to take
ownership of their ministry. Give them jobs and responsibilities
that they enjoy. Letting kids form a welcoming team or allowing
them to help set up for snack are simple and easy ways for them to
be a part of the team.

3. Get to know your kids. All
of them. Make them feel loved. Not just with a prize or a piece of
candy for coming: Get down on their level and talk with them. Let
them know that you’re their friend. It sounds simple, but for a kid
who feels like an outsider, this could mean the world.

***

If you want to know more about The Four Acts
of Love, make sure to check out Thom’s blog, and check out he and his wife
Joani’s new book Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church
Anymore
.

How do you help kids in your ministry feel
welcome? Let us know in the comment section below!

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About Author

David Jennings

David has served kids around the world for the majority of his life. From Texas to Romania, he has followed where God has led him. Most recently, he served for six years as a children's director in the great state of Alabama before moving to Colorado to work for Group as an associate editor.

1 Comment

  1. Of course I give candy to someone that is new I think it helps children feel special – I give hershey chocolate bars – so far no allergies and always liked and accepted but I also do a couple of other things during this time in our children's worship – I get their full name and I introduce them to the group and ask them to say hi – then I find out which elementary school they attend (we have several in our area) I ask them a few questions about themselves so that I can get to know them and it helps me to connect with them and then I ask someone from their school to be their friend/helper for the day and help them to know what we are doing next and if they have any questions during service – this helps them to connect with one of the kids here on a deeper level- just a few ideas that seem to work for us-Crystal

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