Our hearts and prayers go out to
everyone impacted by this week's deadly tornados.
Kids are seeing the devastation on televisions
and newspapers and are hearing adults talk about it. The children
you work with may have difficulty understanding and processing a
disaster like this. They may end up confused and full of
The subject can be difficult to tackle, but it
gives us a chance to grow closer to God. Here are five tips to help
your children's ministry through this and any other disasters.
1. Know what not to say. In a
recent blog post, Christine Yount Jones gave quick tips of what
to say...and what not to say as you minister to these children and
families. Don't make guaranties such as, "This can't happen
again." Avoid making false assurances. Instead, redirect kids
to see God as their forever friend who will never leave them and
who will be with them during every trial. Also included in this
post is a link to a free copy of our Emergency Response Handbook
for Children's Ministry, an excellent resource for when any kind of
2. Meet kids' needs. In her
article, Are You
Disaster-Prepared?, Mary Davis helps us understand how disaster
effects children. She provides a 9-point checklist that will help
you make sure you're meeting your kids' needs. One simple, but
important thing you can do-maintain a routine. Kids' lives are
in chaos, and they long for some sense of order. Encourage your
teachers to make class time more structured than usual so kids know
what to expect each time they come.
3. Be ready to provide
relief. Although a disaster can be temporary, the damage
it can cause can last a lifetime. Here's another great tool to help
you respond to the needs of families facing tragedy: Group's
Emergency Response Handbook for Disaster Relief. Written in
partnership with the Salvation Army, this book will help you
support survivors of crisis situations.
4. Let kids know they can make a
difference. Sometimes, the best way to help kids cope with
disaster is to let them know that they can help. Gordon West
provides some great ways to help kids serve others and they can
help you during times of disaster.
5. Teach kids how to
pray. We've talked about it before; teaching kids how to
pray is a major step in helping them cope with disasters.
Explain the importance of prayer and guide them as they pray for
everyone who's been affected by tragedy, especially when it hits
close to home.
We want to hear from you. How are you talking
about the tornados with your kids? Are you planning any service
projects to help? Share with us in the comment section below.