Rolling out new children’s ministry programming or curriculum with your team can be stressful. But when the people you serve aren’t on board, it can be downright painful. Leaders all face obstacles, but how do you deal with the gap between a thrilled team of kid-influencers—and frustrated kids and parents? In my experience, it’s never too late to build an “ABC transition team.”
When you implement a new curriculum, it’s more complicated than stopping the old and starting the new. Change is a process, not a switch, and it affects everyone involved differently. Having an ABC transition team can help you navigate the temporary confusion, disappointment, and sense of loss that upset kids and parents may be feeling.
So what’s an ABC transition team? Successfully dealing with change requires Advisors, Bricklayers, and Champions. Including each of these groups before, during, and after a major change can save you a lot of heartaches.
You need candid input and feedback from as many angles as possible. Your immediate team, other ministry leaders, parents, and kids are all worth listening to. Get them in the same room to hear concerns and encourage conversation. You’ll be surprised how the Holy Spirit brings unity through diversity. You’ll also get a front row seat with surprising solutions.
Establishing a firm foundation requires faithful, equipped, and skilled workers. It also takes apprentices who come alongside to complete the task at hand. Spend time studying Ezra 3. God used all kinds of people to rebuild His temple. Some experienced this as joyful while others wept. Honor transition while laying the groundwork. Invite your leaders, parents, and kids to put the new program in place together. Not everyone will jump on board immediately, but you can create opportunities for loyal bricklayers to bring unsure apprentices along.
Identify a handful of trusted leaders, parents, and kids who are eager to try out what’s new and tell others about it. In doing so, their stories will serve as an encouragement to build up the body. They’ll also find ways to help kids and parents overcome obstacles to the new curriculum. You need more than cheerleaders in the face of opposition; recruit champions who capitalize on moments, build momentum and wave banners that invite everyone into the adventure. Kids and parents are looking to you, your leaders, and your church to point them toward a promising future.
It may be tempting to put on a superficial smile in the halls or hide away when kids and parents are obviously unimpressed with your new program or curriculum. Everyone in your ministry deals with transition differently. If you’re convinced the change is the right thing at the right time, press ahead with your ABC transition team. God will use it all for his glory and good in the end.
Dan Lovaglia is an author, speaker, and children’s ministry consultant and coach. He is passionate about propelling lifelong relational discipleship forward with kids, families, and leaders through the local church.