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3 Ways to Help Children Feel Welcome in Your Ministry

HugIf you haven't seen it yet, I encourage you to check out Group founder Thom Schultz's blog. He's doing a series based on his new book, and he discusses things people today want to find in a church-what he calls the "Four Acts of Love." One of those Acts of Love is Radical Hospitality.

"…We found that most congregations believe their churches are friendly and hospitable," says Thom on his blog. "But they tend to make that critique based on cosmetic things that most people don't equate with a true welcome.

"(In our book) we describe how Radical Hospitality is NOT:

  • greeters at the door
  • meet-and-greet time in the service
  • an espresso bar
  • parking lot attendants
  • awarding prizes for bringing visitors

"Instead, Radical Hospitality begins with extending the kind of genuine welcome that Jesus demonstrated. He exemplified an unconditional love for the misfits, the outcasts, the weak, the young, the broken, the prostitutes."

That got me thinking. How welcoming are we to kids who some may consider misfits or outcasts? What could be worse than having a child come into your ministry, not feel welcome, and not want to come back?

In this blog posting, I want to share some simple ways we can help kids have a sense of belonging in our ministry.

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1. Build Communication. Sometimes what scares kids is other kids. They need to learn how to talk to one another. By playing simple icebreaking games and including time for conversation, you're fostering friendship and a sense of community.

2. Ownership. Something I personally found great success with is allowing kids to take ownership of their ministry. Give them jobs and responsibilities that they enjoy. Letting kids form a welcoming team or allowing them to help set up for snack are simple and easy ways for them to be a part of the team.

3. Get to know your kids. All of them. Make them feel loved. Not just with a prize or a piece of candy for coming: Get down on their level and talk with them. Let them know that you're their friend. It sounds simple, but for a kid who feels like an outsider, this could mean the world.

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If you want to know more about The Four Acts of Love, make sure to check out Thom's blog, and check out he and his wife Joani's new book Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore.

How do you help kids in your ministry feel welcome? Let us know in the comment section below!

Posted at 12:15

1 Comments:

Crystal Petty said...
Of course I give candy to someone that is new I think it helps children feel special - I give hershey chocolate bars - so far no allergies and always liked and accepted but I also do a couple of other things during this time in our children's worship - I get their full name and I introduce them to the group and ask them to say hi - then I find out which elementary school they attend (we have several in our area) I ask them a few questions about themselves so that I can get to know them and it helps me to connect with them and then I ask someone from their school to be their friend/helper for the day and help them to know what we are doing next and if they have any questions during service - this helps them to connect with one of the kids here on a deeper level- just a few ideas that seem to work for us-Crystal
October 7, 2013 12:54

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