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How to Build a Children’s Ministry

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I’ve built a children’s ministry from the bottom up. Six years ago, our church had two children in preschool and four in the combined elementary Sunday school class, no midweek program, and only two or three kids in children’s church. Today 100 children fill our children’s program.

How could we have had so few children six years ago and over 100 today? There were several key steps we took. Here are the steps you can also take to build your children’s ministry:

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  • Pray. Seek God’s will in prayer and share your prayerful concern and vision with others. Pray weekly with interested people about your children’s ministry.
  • Count the cost. Luke 14:28 says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? (NIV)” Building a children’s ministry will cost you and your congregation time, money, and emotions. Don’t start without considering whether you’re willing to pay the price.
  • Develop your goals and philosophy. Any basic philosophy of children’s ministry should address the needs of children and their relationship to Christ. As you develop your philosophy, consider children’s four basic needs: love and acceptance, security, varied and meaningful activities with choices, and realistic, consistent behavior expectations and discipline.
  • Establish goals and objectives. Brainstorm the necessary goals and objectives to fulfill your philosophy. Objectives need to be unique to fit your church. They also need to be reachable, measurable, understandable, specific, and realistic. Prioritize each objective.
  • Dream big but live in reality. Look with growth eyes. Dream and catch a vision. One important lesson to learn is that the success or failure of your children’s ministry depends on your ability to refashion your dreams to fit reality! Some dreams may be accomplished right away. Some may take a year or two. Some may never be accomplished. You’ll have to modify your dreams. It’ll take time and patience.
  • Plan your program. How will each objective be accomplished? Who’ll be responsible? What facilities are necessary? What supplies are needed? Who’ll supply what? Who do you need to coordinate with? How will you publicize? What’s the time line? Establish a completion date for each detail of preparation.
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Children's Ministry Magazine

Children's Ministry Magazine is the most read magazine for people who minister to children from birth through sixth grade. We're partnering with you to make Jesus irresistible to kids.

10 Comments

  1. yesoph perla on

    I have a great desire to start a children ministry in my village from India according to God’s plans,but I am a poor.My family is homeless becouse we are rejected ones by our own Hindu cast people and relatives.but have great faith in God that God can rise us.My elder two brothers are pastors in local villages but in needy,and I have completed my B.Th .So can u give me any suggestions plz. .I HOPE.

    • Christine Yount Jones
      Christine Yount Jones on

      Yesoph,
      God bless you in your journey! We often have no idea what our brothers and sisters are enduring for Christ around the world. Please see all the articles on childrensministry.com. They’re free and come from 25 years of Children’s Ministry Magazine. If there is something you want to know that’s not covered on this website, please let us know!

  2. Pastor Barsino Bubu, Jr. on

    Great!
    I’ve never been thinking about the success of ministry to be embedded right within the Children’s Ministry. I now believe that by focusing on Children’s Ministry can enlarge the Church.
    Thanks.

  3. Our church has tried several different children’s ministries, but we can’t get kids to come. When you say to print lots of flyers to send out, who do you send them out to? We have tried posting them all over town, in stores and libraries, taking out newspaper ads, and the local magazine for children’s activities. Our school district will not publicize anything religious. Can you help us think of some fresh, new ways to get the word out, please?

    • Christine Yount Jones
      Christine Yount Jones on

      Susan,
      Have you thought about using social media/online ads/your church website? In the end, there’s nothing like a personal invitation. How can you encourage the kids and families you have to bring their friends? I’d say put the fliers in your members’ hands to hand out to their neighbors and friends. Personal is the strongest and most lasting connection.

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