Take care to discover, motivate, recruit, and train workers if
the important ministries of children in the church are to be
Christ-honoring and life-molding.
- Arrange transportation. You can begin with
parent-driven cars or simply use your own vehicle. As our group
increased, we rented small vans and finally chartered buses. Don't
go anywhere without insurance and signed parental permission slips.
We have a standard form printed on card stock and prepared by a law
firm. We keep all forms in one notebook and take them on every
- Prepare your facilities. Start with what you
have, even if you have only one small room. Clean the room and make
the bulletin boards look nice. Take pictures of all events and have
unique pictures enlarged as posters to adorn the walls.
Your classroom can also be used as a recreation room. Add some
small table games and inexpensive Foosball and air hockey games. We
now have a children's recreation room filled with games and a video
room with over 100 Christian videos. A retired librarian in our
church has also added a full children's library.
- Coordinate publicity. Take pictures at all
events. Send brightly colored fliers and, of course, encourage word
of mouth. Take advantage of every opportunity to publicize. I
visited the local school district office and obtained a free
distribution-of-materials permit. Then I printed 5,000 fliers to
give to students in every elementary school in our city!
- Establish a budget. What supplies and
materials do you need, and where will they come from? Where will
the money come from? If you have a church board or laity trapped by
a fear of change, be patient. Change takes time. Remember that
today's traditions were once someone's dreams. Today's dreams may
become tomorrow's traditions.
Begin with simple everyday items for your supplies to keep costs
down. Paper plates, bags, string, and empty cans and jars are easy
ways to make projects that cost very little. Be creative. Let your
imagination run. Excellence and money aren't necessarily the same
thing. Many times the best learning activities cost nothing!
- Evaluate. Continuously evaluate every program.
Have regular staff evaluations. Give parents a simple one-page
sheet to anonymously give input. And get input from your children,
too. They give input in two ways: First, they give feedback simply
by their presence! Happy children will be there and will bring
friends. Second, ask kids what they like and don't like. Find out
what they enjoy and eliminate the things they don't. Groups change
from year to year. So keep asking questions. Listen to your
children, get to know them, and find out what activities they'd
like to see added. Constantly look for ways to improve.
David Gallagher is a minister of education in