To snack, or not to snack,
that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to serve up
The sugar and sweets of outrageous fillers,
Or to take arms against a sea of marshmallow crème,
And by opposing end them: to diet, to sleep (perchance throughout
Aye, there’s the rub.
Snacks are becoming a large hurdle in today’s
ministry world. What are we supposed to do when it comes to snacks?
Here are seven things to consider when thinking about sweet snacks
and tasty treats in your ministry:
1. Don’t Ban. I know of more
than a few ministries that have banned snacks and treats. If an
activity involving food ever shows up in the lesson, they work
around it. I see the good intention here (see my next point), but
serving snacks is a great way to show
2. Be Allergy Alert! One way
NOT to show radical hospitality is serving kids snacks that will
kill them. Food allergies impact 1 in every 10 to 13 kids in
America. Yes, it’s easy just to ban snacks altogether…but what
might it demonstrate to a family that your ministry takes the time
to serve kids with allergies something they can enjoy. Better yet,
give everyone the same allergen-free snack to help kids with
allergies not feel different.
Kids LOVE these Sunday School resources!
3. Communicate Clearly. When
serving snacks, even when you think you know everyone’s allergies,
post what you’ll be serving. In our Kids’ Travel Guide to the Beatitudes, we put a
printable allergy alert sign that ministry leaders can copy and
post at their doors so parents know what to expect before going
4. Food for Thought. Give
your snacks meaning. Find ways to incorporate snack time into your
lessons. Don’t just hand a kid a cookie and milk and call it done;
have them pretend the cookie is Naaman as he dips into the Jordan
River. Need more inspiration? Here are
three Bible-based snacks kids will eat up!
5. No Rewards. Besides
snacks, another hot button issue in children’s ministry is the use
of a reward system. Children’s Ministry Magazine has covered the
issue multiple times from different angles (Ban
What’s Wrong With Rewards, Token
Stickers & Candies & Stars-Oh My!). Even I covered the
previously. The discussion always seems to bring in some great
comments on both sides of the issue. Check out the discussions and
decide for yourself if snacky rewards are a good fit for your
6. Healthy Helps. One of my
favorite parts of my job as an editor of children’s ministry
materials is testing out the snacks. Hey, someone has to do it! We
happen to have some great cooks and foodies on our team and they
have been providing some great, healthy alternatives to the sugary
snacks of children’s ministry past. And…I can’t believe I’m saying
this…they taste just as good, or even better. Next snack time, see
what simple substitutions you can make to give kids a healthy
snack…your parents will thank you!
7. For Kids, By Kids. Give
kids the opportunity to serve their peers by letting them help out
making and handing out the snacks. It’s a great way to build up
their confidence and help them understand that they can make a
difference in the ministry. It really gives kids ownership and
helps them realize that this istheir ministry.
To snack or not to snack, that is the
question…let us know your answer in the comment section below!