Invisible ministry? Children’s ministry is often overlooked and undervalued not only by those who attend church, but also by those who lead it. Here’s how to elevate your ministry’s visibility.
Is your children’s ministry invisible? Although your ministry likely reaches the second largest volume of people in the church on a weekly basis (second only to the main service), and has the potential to transform lives at their most moldable stage, children’s ministry is often overlooked and undervalued not only by those who attend church, but also by those who lead it.
Parents love to drop off their kids, but many are unaware of your ministry’s mission and vision. Church leaders enjoy advertising the fact that your church offers a great children’s program, but few have actually volunteered with kids or are aware of what’s going on in your area. Your church isn’t ignoring children’s ministry out of malice—this is just the natural state of things if you’re not taking the initiative to move your ministry out of the shadows and into the spotlight of your church body by increasing its perceived value at all levels. Take these four steps to make your ministry visible.
Start at the Top When endeavoring to build value for anything, the starting place is at the top of the organization. If your church leadership doesn’t value kids, you’re in for an uphill battle. Begin by inviting your senior pastor and board members to visit your children’s ministry for a few weeks to let them get a feel for the ministry that happens there. Encourage them to interact with kids and your staff, and you’ll begin to see a change happen in their hearts. By facilitating opportunities for your leadership to experience what actually happens in children’s ministry on a weekly basis, you’re building allies and friends for your ministry that will, through their influence and leading, raise the overall value of children in your church.
Communicate One thing we’re guilty of as leaders is a lack of sufficient communication with parents and the church as a whole. As Jesus said, “How will they know unless someone tells them?” Tell your congregation something about what’s going on in children’s ministry every week. Whether it’s through the bulletin, a Sunday announcement, or a sign in the lobby, make it conspicuous and deliver it in a way that the majority of your people will see it. Use auxiliary ways to relay information as well, such as email, newsletters, blogs, or Web sites. This does a few things. First, it reminds people your church has an active and vibrant children’s ministry. Second, it provides exposure to opportunities where people can get involved. Third, it’s a great vehicle for keeping parents informed and up-to-date on happenings in your ministry.
Highlight Successes There’s no doubt your ministry has regular successes—kids grow in their relationship with Jesus, you complete big and small projects as a team, you raise funds for various endeavors—all in the midst of your normal ministry happenings. But what are you doing to ensure the rest of your church hears these highlights?
Your ministry’s successes can be a powerful conduit to place children’s ministry on the congregation’s radar. I’m not talking about bragging—rather, rejoicing in the wonderful things God’s doing with your kids. Kids are not the church of tomorrow; they’re a significant, vibrant part of the church today. Build up the value of children within your church by raising awareness when good things happen in your ministry.
Target Parents Parents are an influential demographic to target as you set about raising the perceived value of your children’s ministry. Let’s run the numbers: If 25 percent of your church attendance is children (in a church of 100, that’s 25 kids), and each child has two parents, then even accounting for multiple-child families, you’re looking at anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of your church who is either a child or a parent. If you get parents to buy in to your ministry’s vision and value children’s ministry, then you’ve influenced the largest majority of people in your church. Use the built in, face-to-face time you have with parents each week to give them information, give good “one liners” that express your ministry’s vision, and ultimately raise your value.
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Children’s ministry is important—it’s your job as the ministry leader to shine a spotlight on your kids, team, and ministry whenever you get the chance. If you’re intentional, focused, and consistent, your ministry will go from invisible to center stage in no time.
Bill Anderson is a writer and veteran family pastor in Berlin, Ohio.
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