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We’ve Got Spirit!

Use this win-win game plan to
build community with kids, parents, and volunteers in your
children’s ministry.

One of my favorite things about football games in the fall is the
instant community I share with total strangers. As I spot another
loyal fan sporting my team’s jersey or waving colored pom-poms in
the air on any given Sunday, I have an immediate and strangely
loyal connection to these people. Yet, sadly, I can enter another
favorite venue on any given Sunday — church — and lack that same
connection to those around me.

Building community is a winning aspect of your ministry game plan
each week. Without relational connections, loyalty is a short-lived
value. So to create connection and loyalty on your team, use these
ideas with your key players — kids, parents, and volunteers.

Hellos & Goodbyes

Never underestimate the power of a simple greeting or

• Hello to Kids — Train your team members to
engage kids within 30 seconds of the time they enter your ministry
area by inviting children to join in a conversation, game, or other
activity. Also train your regular kids to make connections with new
kids by being their buddies for the entire time. Start each week by
having all kids introduce themselves and share something about
their week.

• Hello to Parents — As parents drop off their
kids, train your team members to let Mom and Dad know what kids
will learn. Also have team members personally give parents any
take-home materials at drop off rather than placing them in an
impersonal “out” box or door folder. This provides eye-to-eye
contact with every parent.

• Hello to Volunteers — When I started a new
children’s ministry director position, a seasoned volunteer asked
me whether she’d see me on Sunday mornings. After laughing out
loud, I realized she was absolutely serious. She said she’d been
volunteering for nearly a year and had never spoken with the
previous director after her first day on the job. Instead of
disappearing, have your volunteers meet for a morning huddle before
kids arrive to touch base, hear announcements, share prayer
concerns, and pray together. Not only will this give leaders face
time with volunteers, but it’ll also allow your team members to
chat and build relationships.

Common Purposes

Nothing brings people together more quickly than working toward a
common purpose.

• Purpose With Kids — Have kids work on a
project together such as sponsoring a child in a Third World
country or creating snacks for a neighboring small group. Offer
opportunities for kids to work together each week. Extend this
opportunity into the school week by giving kids a weekly challenge
such as looking for ways to show God’s love on the playground or
searching the Bible for a verse relating to forgiveness. When kids
return to your ministry the following weekend, let all kids share
their discoveries.

• Purpose With Parents — The one thing you know
all parents have in common is that they have kids. Begin by
offering parenting classes, small groups, or play groups so parents
can connect. Then look for ways to purposefully add on to and
strengthen these connections, such as creating a parent group on
Facebook or setting a standing “coffee shop date.” Connect parents
with kids of similar ages so they can share the joys and challenges
of parenting as well as glean advice from each other.

• Purpose With Volunteers — These folks already
have a common purpose: helping children get to know Jesus. Regular
contact with your volunteers is critical to renewing your
ministry’s vision and purpose. But many leaders of volunteers
forget that encouraging volunteers to form bonds outside of
ministry service — whether a softball team, book club, social
networking group, or Habitat for Humanity team — will strengthen
those ties and provide a sense of camaraderie that comes only from
friendly, casual interaction. Being together away from a service
commitment will build your team’s community and, as a result, their
commitment to ministry.

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