Sometimes it is tough adjusting our Children’s Ministry to the postmodern culture. Often times, as was the case in our church, the ministry consists of several caring older members who have nurtured the ministry for several years. They have a genuine interest in the children and want them to learn about God’s truths, but their methods have become somewhat outdated. Certainly, we don’t need to kick these people out of the ministry in order to freshen things up. They are truly the backbone. Instead, let’s build upon what they have started, making a few tweaks here and there. Here are some of the initial revisions we made in order to bring our ministry up to speed.
1) Find a consistent curriculum.
Originally we were using books like “5 Minute Bible Lessons for Children”. In some situations, these are probably great resources, but when you have kids for 60 minutes, finding enough 5 minute lessons to fill that time has to be taxing. Search long and hard for your curriculum because you want to stick with it for at least a couple of years. You shouldn’t switch curriculums too often, because it’s hard for your kids (and volunteers) to find a rhythm/schedule and because you could end up repeating lessons over and over again, since many of the curriculums out there cover the same lessons, only in different order. For our church, we needed a change fast, so we used the Alliance (Christian and Missionary Alliance) curriculum, “Getting to Know Jesus” until we could find a more permanent solution. This had about 10 lessons in it, and covered Jesus as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and soon coming King. It also a had a lesson on missions. Over the last few years, we’ve stuck consistently with Promiseland’s 5-G curriculum on Sundays, but have bounced around a bit on Wednesdays. Check out some of the reviews of the curriculum we’ve tried.
2) Make sure your class size is a good ratio for your teachers.
Somehow, over time, our classes got a little wopper-jawed. There was no clear division of ages, and kids would jump around from teacher to teacher each week. In the end, one teacher would end up with two kids and the other teacher would end up with 10! Not a good situation for either class. We established clear age-divisions and made sure to keep class sizes at about a 1:6 ratio. When the classes started to grow, we would plug in a new team member and praise God!
3) Incorporated games each week.
We started playing games for about 1o minutes each week, and boy, did the kids respond! At first, they were just fun games, but started using a regular curriculum, many lessons included themed games, so that was better. The kids are in school all day, and certainly don’t want to sit still in a “school-like” environment all Wednesday night too. So loosen up! We didn’t have a ton of room in our church, so we played games in the fellowship hall. The laughter and yelling which carried into the sanctuary where the adults were having Bible Study reminded them to keep contributing to the building fund, and to keep these kids in their prayers!