How do you develop a vision statement for your church? Part 1 – Brainstorming

A vision statement is a single sentence description of what you want your kids to be like when they leave your children’s ministry.

I described vision as a dream in my previous post. Another way of looking at it is to call it a target.

I learned archery when I was at Bible camp as a teenager. I was taught to use my bow and arrow properly, and then I was shown a target. I aimed my bow at the target and hoped I wouldn’t lob the arrow into the air above the bales of hay! The target was something to aim at.

A vision statement is a target. It is what you are aiming for in your children’s ministry. Having a single target gives all volunteers the same thing to aim for.

How do you find the right target for your children’s ministry? For the rest of this vision-creating series, I’m going to teach you how to develop a vision statement that is specific to your church.

Step One – Brainstorming

Plan a brainstorming day for the children’s ministry leaders and volunteers in your church. If you are the sole children’s ministry leader, invite the volunteers to join you. Brainstorming is possible by yourself, but much more fun as a group. Try and have leaders/volunteers from all areas of children’s ministry involved – Sunday School, mid-week clubs, nursery, VBS, etc.

Pray together. Ask God to give you wisdom and the freedom to dream big for the kids in your care.

If possible, use a whiteboard or chalkboard or flipchart. Draw a child (I’m not an artist – a stick figure will work!) Write “I am 12 yrs old” above the drawing. Tell the group, “Let’s pretend that this is a child who has graduated out of children’s ministry. What do you want them to be like?” Or use a picture of a baby who is currently in your nursery. “When Julie finishes grade 6, what do you want her to be like?”

Ask the group to share what they want kids to be like once they leave children’s ministry. How do they want the kids to act and speak and think? Write it all down. Nothing is silly or unimportant. It is important during brainstorming to make sure everyone agrees on the rules – all ideas are written down, no idea is made fun of.

Here are some examples of the types of things that might be shared: love God’s Word; have a big picture of who God is; understand the gospel; love others; pray for their enemies; love God; follow Jesus.

Once everyone has shared, look again at what you have written. Start to circle or highlight things that are mentioned more than once. This is where the bones of your vision statement will come from. You may notice that the same 1 or 2 ideas keep popping up. In that case a vision statement like this might emerge, “Kids who know, love, and follow Jesus.”

This is also the time to see if you can group any thing into larger categories. For example, if there are a lot of ideas like, “Love others, pray for your enemies; give generously; think of others…” then they can be grouped into a larger category called “Loving Others,” or “Loving People.” In this case a vision statement like this might emerge, “Kids who love God and love people.”

You are now ready to move on to step 2. Step 2 will be outlined in my next post.

 

How do you develop a vision statement for your children’s ministry? Part one – Brainstorm, Part two – Create a single sentence vision statement, Part three – Get the word out.

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Why do you need a vision for your children’s ministry?

Do you ever wonder if you are accomplishing anything more valuable than babysitting?

Do you ever feel discouraged by the lack of volunteers?

Do you ever get frustrated by the children’s behavior?

Do you ever feel like your children’s ministry isn’t “connected” to what your church is doing?

Do you ever end up wondering why you even serve at all in children’s ministry?

Children’s ministry is a lot of work. There are a lot of details and juggling. And it can be thankless work.

So in order to stay focused and motivated, you need to keep the bigger picture in mind: Children’s ministry is more than education or babysitting. It’s about preparing/discipling our kids to glorify God throughout their whole lives. You’re not just helping Jonny learn to share; you’re teaching him a truth about God that will be relevant for his whole life.

A vision statement can help.

A vision statement is a single sentence description of what you want your kids to be like when they leave your children’s ministry.

A vision is important because it gives all your children’s ministry volunteers something to work towards.

A vision statement…

Unifies volunteers from different programs

A children’s ministry vision statement can help volunteers from all the different programs see how the ministry they are involved in connects with and supports the ministry other volunteers are involved in. VBS volunteers will see how they are connected to Sunday School volunteers. Mid-week clubs will see how they are part of the children’s ministry team. Volunteers from all children’s ministry programs at your church will be unified; working towards the same goal.

Helps you decide what to do with current ministries and potential ministries

If you have a vision statement for your children’s ministry, you have a standard to evaluate all programs by. If any of your current programs don’t help fulfill your vision, then you need to consider letting them go. When considering a new program, evaluate it in light of your vision statement. If it will help you achieve your dream for your kids, then it is a program you should strongly consider. This is a very helpful tool. There are a lot of programs and possibilities out there and it is not possible to use all of them at your church. Having a vision statement will help you as you evaluate possible programs.

Helps you sell children’s ministry to the church leadership and the congregation

Sometimes the congregation will need help in seeing the true value of children’s ministry in your church. A vision statement helps them to see the bigger picture. It will help them to see opportunities to volunteer. It will also show them how to pray for your children and children’s ministry volunteers. It will help the church leadership as they are setting your budget. It will also help the church leadership see the connection between children’s ministry and all of the other ministries in the church.

Motivates volunteers and reminds them why they are serving

When a volunteer feels mired down in details and discipline problems, your vision statement will help them to see beyond the present frustrations. Knowing that there is a bigger picture will motivate your volunteers. A vision statement will remind your volunteers that the goal is discipleship – children who know, love, and serve Jesus.

Vision statement examples

Here’s the vision statement we created at one of the churches I served in, “Kids who passionately love God and live out their faith in words and actions.

Here are some other vision statements I’ve found from other churches that will you see what vision statements look like.

To equip children to be well-grounded in God’s Word, to build godly character, to instill the priority of the Great Commission, and to develop good spiritual disciplines, all for the Glory of God. (Evangel Bible Church of Berkley)

We want an ever-growing number of children to visit our church, finding a place where they feel loved, come to know Christ, and continue to grow through fun and life-changing experiences.

We want to see every child in our ministry discipled one-on-one by a parent or loving adult before they leave the children’s ministry so that they will know basic doctrine, be practicing the spiritual disciples and have acquired the biblical skills needed to survive the turbulent teenage years and prepare them for a life of loving, obeying and serving God.

With guidance from the Lord, children will be prepared to be strong believers, effective Christian youth, and future church leaders. (Fellowship Baptist Church)

Scripture Versus Vision

Some people may ask why we don’t use a Bible verse for a vision statement.

Children’s ministries should have a verse or passage that inspires them in their work as volunteers. A vision statement, however, is a dream of what you want in the future and it’s specific to your church and to your children. I believe that a vision statement must always be rooted in scripture because the Bible gives us everything we need for godly living. So use your Bible as a guide when creating your vision statement, but remember that a vision statement is very specific to how you want YOUR kids to leave YOUR children’s ministry.

For example, the vision I used for one of the churches I’ve served in was: “Kids who passionately love God and live out their faith in words and actions.

And, the verse we used to inspire our vision was: “We will not hide these truths from our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord…So each generation can set its hope anew on God, remembering His glorious miracles and obeying his commands.”(Psalm 78:4&7)

 

Remember a vision statement is a single-sentence description of the dream you have for the children in your ministry. What will they look like once they leave children’s ministry?

Stay tuned. In the next few blog posts I will teach you how to create a vision for your children’s ministry.

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Welcome to WellEquippedVolunteer.com!

Hi! For my first blog post, I wanted to quickly introduce myself and tell you what I do… and why I’m doing it.
Welcome to WellEquippedVolunteer.com!

THE VERY BEGINNING

I grew up as a pastor’s kid on the prairies. My Mom and Dad love God and have dedicated their lives to serving Him. My parents taught me a lot about loving God and loving people. At 7, I gave my life to Jesus and grew up with a desire to serve God.

After graduating high school, I attended Canadian Bible College (now Ambrose University) where God continued to clarify His call on my life. I graduated with a Bachelor of Religious Education majoring in Christian Education so I could work with kids in a church setting. I met my husband while at Bible College and we’ve embarked on many adventures together!

We live in Winnipeg Manitoba.

I LOVE WORKING WITH CHILDREN!

I have served in large churches and small churches, in a volunteer capacity and in a professional (paid) capacity. I’ve worked in churches with hundreds of children and even taught Sunday School with only a couple of kids in the seats!

Along the way, I’ve served in the nursery, taught Sunday School to all ages, volunteered in and directed VBS’s, volunteered in community children’s programs, designed and served in mid-week club programs and summer day camps, and developed missions programs and projects.

I am passionate about Jesus and kids and the people who work with kids in the church. I want to help empower children’s ministry volunteers – especially those who work in small and rural churches. You give so much of your time and love to this important work and I want to help you become more effective.

I’d love it if you would join me on your journey as a children’s ministry volunteer. Bookmark this blog and come back to it often: I’m going to provide free resources and ideas for you and your fellow children’s ministry volunteers!

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