How do you develop a vision statement for your children’s ministry? Part 2 – Create a single-sentence vision statement.

You have completed your brainstorming session and you have the bones of your vision statement. Now it’s time to write the vision statement for children’s ministry in your church.

It’s your job to take the things you have highlighted and/or the larger categories you have created and write in a single sentence. This could take a while to get it down to one sentence, but work at it. Making your vision statement a single sentence is important. A single sentence forces you to focus your dreams. Remember, you are making a target that all your children’s ministry volunteers are going to aim at. Make it focused.

If your vision statement is to be effective, it needs to be easily recognizable and easily passed on. A single sentence will help you to accomplish this.

When writing the vision statement it is important to do so from the children’s perspective. Ultimately, it won’t be a statement about your children’s ministry, but about the kids in your ministry. An example of a vision statement written this way is, “Kids who passionately love God and live out their faith in words and actions.” Beginning the sentence with “Kids who” helps to keep you focused on writing it from the child’s perspective.

So, on your whiteboard or flipchart write, “Kids who” and look to your brainstorming notes to complete the sentence.

Once you have your vision statement written in a single sentence from the children’s perspective, it’s time to evaluate it.

Evaluate your vision statement by the qualities of a good vision statement.

Inspiring

  • A good vision statement is inspiring for the volunteers in your children’s ministry. Does your vision statement spur your volunteers on? Does it get them excited about what God can do in the lives of your kids?

Memorable

  • A good vision statement is memorable. It is easy to remember because it is a single sentence, focused, and relevant to your kids, your volunteers, and your church.

Rooted in Scripture

  • A good vision statement is rooted in Scripture. God’s Word is our final authority. Any vision for our kids should be based on the truth of God’s Word and express a love for the Word of God. “Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” Proverbs 30:5

In line with the larger vision of your church

  • Children’s ministry is part of the larger ministry of your church. Your vision for your kids needs to be in line with the larger vision of your church. If your church has a vision statement, make sure that you and your team know it and write a vision statement that supports it. It’s okay if it’s not the same, but it needs to be heading in the same direction. For example, this kids ministry vision statement, “Kids who passionately love God and live out their faith in words and actions,” is in line with the vision statement of the church, “For God’s glory we will have maximum impact in our world by seeing lives changed in their depth of love for God and for people.” It’s not the same, but it is aiming for a similar target.

In the next post of this vision-creating series I will talk about the importance of getting the word out about your children’s ministry vision.

 

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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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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Recruiting – Not Just Anybody

Recruiting is about finding somebody not just anybodyRecruiting can be one of the most stressful on-going aspects of children’s ministry. Volunteers move on or change ministries and the children’s ministry leader is once again searching for a volunteer.

It’s nearing the beginning of the Sunday School year and you still need help in the nursery and 2 Sunday School teachers – never mind volunteers for your mid-week club program! It is very tempting in these situations to find anybody available to serve in the nursery or to teach a Sunday School class.

But recruiting should be about finding somebody, not just anybody.

Understanding the value of your children’s ministry helps you to see that who you recruit to work with the children of your church is very important.

The somebody you are looking for is:

1. Somebody who loves Jesus

The discipleship of our kids is the goal of children’s ministry. Let’s make sure that the people influencing them are people who love Jesus first and foremost.

I spoke to someone recently who remembered a certain Sunday School teacher he had as a child. He looked up to his teacher. This teacher was the cool teacher. When the teacher taught, he listened. Years later, he found out that this teacher was not a Christ-follower. In fact, the old teacher said, “I didn’t believe any of that stuff I was teaching you.”

Sunday School teachers are role-models for our kids. Children will imitate those they admire. So let’s give them volunteers who love Jesus!

2. Somebody who loves kids

This may seem obvious, but it is important that the people serving in our children’s ministries actually love kids. Kids can tell – and kids need people who love them no matter what! Our kids need people who love them enough to pray for them, to discipline them, to disciple them, to listen to them. Loving kids will also help volunteers through the tough times in children’s ministry. People who love kids are volunteers for the long term.

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 30-31)

We are called to love God and to love people. When looking for volunteers in your children’s ministry, look for these kinds of people, but make it even more specific – look for people who love kids.

3. Somebody who is gifted in the area you need

God has gifted His people to serve in the Church. Look for people gifted by God for your specific need. Sometimes you will need the gift of teaching, sometimes you will need the gift of administration, sometimes you will need the gift of helps; or perhaps you need someone with a combination of gifts. Ask God to raise up people gifted to serve in children’s ministry and believe that He will provide.

The children in our churches deserve somebody who loves Jesus, who loves them, and who is gifted to serve.

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Games Your Kids Will Never Tire of Playing – Fish Gobbler

Games Your Kids Will Never Tire of Playing

I love this game! More importantly, kids love this game!

This game can be played inside or outside. It requires no equipment. And there’s LOTS of running!

You need a big, empty space (like a field or a gymnasium) and basically the children will have to run from one side of the room to the other without getting caught.

Here’s the lay-out of the playing area:

  • On one side of the playing area is the ship.
  • On the opposite side of the playing area is the shore.
  • The space between the ship and the shore is the ocean.
  • Appoint one player or leader to stand in the ocean – they are the Fish Gobbler.
  • Another leader – standing on the sidelines – is the caller
  • All the other players start by touching the ship-side of the playing area.

Here’s how to play:

The caller shouts directions – either “ship” or “shore” – and the children have to run in that direction. The caller can call out either of these directions at any time (even while children are in the middle of the room, running in one direction) and the children have to run in the direction called.

Meanwhile, the Fish Gobbler just stands there and does nothing… until the caller calls out “Fish Gobbler!

At this point, the Fish Gobbler can run around and tag the players. In order for the players to be safe from the Fish Gobbler, they must lie down on the floor and touch another player. Anyone caught by the Fish Gobbler becomes another Fish Gobbler.

Continue play until everyone is a fish gobbler.

Reasons Why I Love this Game:

  1. All children play at the same time. No one is left out.
  2. It is easy to learn and simple to play.
  3. It is easy to include new players into the game, even in the middle of the game.
  4. It is extremely versatile – it can be played almost anywhere, requires no equipment, and can be played with almost any number of children
  5. I love the shrieks of laughter I hear whenever I play this game.

 

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MissionFest Winnipeg 2012

MissionFest is an annual event in Winnipeg, which features speakers, music and displays from missions organizations. There is also a children’s program and I was a volunteer this year.

I arrived at 1pm only to find out I wasn’t needed until 2:30pm. I wandered through the exhibits and bought a new copy of Operation World (this is a must have book for anyone working with kids!) At 2:30pm I was thrown into the lion’s den when I was asked to lead an impromptu game for the kids as they arrived…it’s always a good idea to have a game or two up your sleeve for these situations.

After games there was a snack and a presentation and then the kids had their own special speaker…who was not a speaker at all. Greg Wood is a local evangelistic comedy entertainer. He was very good. There were about 100 kids and he had their attention from the beginning. He was engaging and funny. He talked about sharing Jesus with our friends and he told Bible stories, all while doing illusions that had the kids interested.

I was glad to be a part of MissionFest and to see 100 kids encouraged to take an active part in making disciples around the world.

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