Do the kids in your ministry help out?
After being challenged by both Karl Bastian and a class at I took at Children’s Ministry University Online (CMUO) a few years back, I’ve been working hard to get the kids to take more responsibility in our kids program.
Karl Bastian, from Kidology, says, “Don’t ever do something a kid could do for you!” If a kid can hold a prop, let him. If a kid can do the puppet skit, don’t break your back trying to be four different characters! If a kid can carry supplies back to the office for you, hand him the key! Of course, it takes time (and training!) to get kids involved and sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth it. Let me assure you, it is worth it! Not only will you eventually have a great team of helpers, you will also be training the next generation of leaders for a lifetime of service.
Dick Gruber, author of Cultivating a Cutting-Edge Children’s Church puts it this way:
“Picture with me the adult service. There sits an incredible pool of talent that may never rise beyond spiritual bench warming. These believers were taught in Sunday school and children’s church of yesteryear to sit quietly and listen. They were not allowed to hold objects…run the sound system…or pray for one another. These students grew into lethargic adulthood. Now they sit in serene Sunday repose week after dreary week. These adults are doing what they were compelled to do as children. They sit quietly doing nothing for God.” (p 20-21)
Wow. That’s a lot of responsibility sitting on the shoulder’s of the Children’s Ministry director, don’t you think? But it’s true. We are raising up the next batch of leaders and we need to let them know it’s their responsibility to serve God with their gifts and talents.
How do we start to get kids involved in ministry? Start slow. One of the mistakes I made after taking my CMUO class was diving headlong into getting kids involved in ministry. It was too much, too fast and it kind of crashed and burned around me. I learned to start with easy jobs. Holding a prop during the lesson is always a great idea. Passing out papers and crayons is another great one. Simple jobs that require no training or skills are a great way to introduce the concept of helping in your ministry. I bet you’re already past all that, though. :)
Taking the Next Step
We have a few jobs that require a bit more commitment and leadership. We post the jobs on the wall using these super fun Wall Sticker from Amazon. They are $10 for a set of 31 circles (various sizes). You can remove them and reposition them as many times as you want, and they don’t hurt the wall!
We write the job on the circle itself and then place note cards with the kids names underneath. Each month, the names change. Kids pay attention too! They have begun to be anxious for their turn to serve!
What jobs do we put on the circles?
- Registration Table (this one requires direct supervision, but the kids get to check off names as kids come in)
- Lights (turning off lights for movie clips or song time…this needs a responsible kid!)
- Worship Team (helping to lead songs and do the motions)
- Timers (our small group leaders meet for 10 minutes at the start of the night. We had out timers in case they don’t have a watch)
- Prayer (I bet you can figure this one out on your own!)
- Snacks (the most coveted job, partly because snack helper usually gets a double helping!)
- Sound Booth (this isn’t on the circles, but we do have 2-3 kids that work with an adult to run the powerpoint and sound)
Looking Towards the Future
Ideally, I would love see the kids get involved in the lesson in a more substantial way. We’ve had puppets before, but the leader for that group was snatch away to teach the adults (sigh). I would love to have kids practicing parts at home and then arrive on Wednesday nights, ready to do a Bible skit. I would also love to see greeters who feel led to be especially welcoming to newcomers.
What About You?
What jobs are your kids doing? What jobs do you wish they were doing? Leave me a comment! I’d love to hear about it! Also be sure to check out “Kids in Ministry” class at CMUO!