Use these 15 ways to make your ministry irresistible and to get kids (and their families) coming back.
It’s always difficult when you work hard at making your ministry impactful and fun—only to watch as kids and families drift away as they lose interest or become disenchanted. So how do you make your ministry sticky—in a good way? We asked several children’s ministry experts for their keys to making your ministry one kids will fall in love with—and want to come back to often.
15 Ways to Make Your Ministry Irresistible
1. Aim for the oldest.
Aim for the oldest. Whenever you group different ages together, consistently engage the oldest kids in the room. You’ll help them feel like they matter—and when the oldest kids are excited, the younger kids typically follow suit.
2. Learn kids’ names.
Even if you start with family names and learn first names later, personalized greetings and calling kids by name goes a long way toward letting kids know they’re cared for. In turn, you’ll create a ministry where they feel they have a place and a sense of belonging.
3. Let kids own it.
Giving kids the chance to help with technology in large-group meetings, lead hand motions during worship, greet visitors at the door, choose between small-group activities, and read the day’s Bible passage aloud are simple ways to give kids ownership over the ministry. We all love things we’re a part of more than events we just “show up” for.
4. Make it count.
Every week, ensure you send kids home with the ability to answer these top-two questions from their parents: “What did you learn?” and “Did you have fun?”
5. Go the extra mile—or two.
A great children’s ministry experience always exceeds kids’—and parents’—expectations, whether it’s your programming or clean restrooms.
6. Have fun.
Chances are if you’re not enjoying the ministry, kids aren’t enjoying it either.
7. Give kids Jesus.
Only when your kids and families consistently see and experience Jesus’ incredible love will they begin to truly love your ministry and all it has to offer.
8. Build a faith bridge every week.
When kids and families can always see how God’s Word applies to their everyday lives, they won’t be bored by your ministry—instead, they’ll be hungry for more.
9. Love your people.
Kids and families want to be loved and to be known, and they long for a place to belong. Love them right where they are and they’ll love your ministry back.
10. Use the element of surprise.
Kids love the mystery of the unexpected, so strive to give them something to wonder about each week.
11. Wear them out.
Give kids so many interactive experiences that when they leave they’re excited, exhausted, and “edu-tained.”
12. Make it personal.
When you and your team listen and personally get to know what’s happening with kids, they trust you and want to come back.
13. Make it joyful.
Because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we’re filled with joy. We can share that joy every week with children through our attitudes, actions, and words. Make joy a core value of your ministry.
14. Offer friendship.
Everyone who serves in children’s ministry is more than a leader or teacher—he or she is a friend to children in and out of the ministry. This means sheltering, loving, guiding kids—and following up when they’re gone.
15. Provide hospitality.
Whether on a Sunday morning, at a special event, or during vacation Bible school, you and your team are there to serve kids. It’s up to you to offer welcoming hospitality and to create a warm environment where they can’t wait to return.
Anthony Prince directs children and family ministry at Glenkirk Church in Los Angeles, California.
Ricardo Miller serves as the student ministry pastor at Pathway of Life Church in Dallas, Texas.
Danielle Bell serves as a minister to children at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
E.C. Cunningham has more than 23 years of experience in children’s and youth ministry.
Brook Hickle serves as director of children’s ministry at Northwest Bible Church in Enumclaw, Washington.
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