Three Things to do Five Minutes Before Every Event

It is five minutes before VBS/Sunday School/Children’s Church/Mid-week clubs and you are trying to finish setting up while two volunteers want to discuss their schedules and the kids are running around screaming. Does this scenario sound familiar?

I think it is all too familiar for most Children’s Ministry leaders. Rather than letting the chaos control you, take five minutes to reset. There are three things that all leaders should do 5 minutes before every program or event.

Three Things to do Five Minutes Before Every Event

First, check the schedule. Look over what is about to happen. As the leader, you need to know what is scheduled and who is responsible for what.

Second, pray. Ask God for wisdom, love, and creativity. Most importantly , ask God to give you clear focus during the event to see opportunities to share the gospel and to build relationships with kids and volunteers.

Third, remember that it is all about making disciples. No matter the purpose of the specific program you are leading, everything in Children’s Ministry is about making disciples. What is going to happen during this event that will help you do that?

This is a good habit to develop but it’s not going to work unless your volunteer team knows that this is important to you. Tell them what you are doing and how long you need to do it. Then suggest that they develop the same habit.

Duck out of the room and find a quiet place to go through these three steps.

If everyone on the team is doing these three things and understands the importance of them, prep work will get done sooner so that there is time for this reset.

Email this to someonePin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+

Permission to End a Program

childrens-ministry-cancel a programI was involved once in a club program that was going really well. We had a club for kids in grades 1-3, for girls in grades 4-6, and for boys in grades 4-6.

The clubs were well planned and purposeful. Kids from the church came and they invited their friends. Kids from the community were coming too. We were building relationships with kids and introducing them to Jesus. It was great!

There was one major problem. As time went on we lost volunteers—lots of volunteers! There were plenty of reasons: job changes, school, other ministry responsibilities, etc, etc. We got to the point where we couldn’t safely or effectively run the program anymore.

So, what did we do? We started praying for wisdom and more volunteers. We also got the word out. We talked with parents and the congregation to let them know of the need for volunteers in our club ministry.

Parents were concerned…they loved the club program and wanted it to continue. However, we ended up losing a few more volunteers.

So, we choose to end the program. It was a hard decision, but it was the right one. We couldn’t effectively run the program with the volunteers we had, so we shut it down.

A year or so later, our church got involved with a breakfast club program at a local school. I was pretty excited. This was outreach! We may not be running an outreach club anymore at the church, but we were involved in outreach through the breakfast club program. We were meeting children in the community and building relationships.

Let me give you permission right now to end a program that is not working in your children’s ministry. It’s okay! It’s not a sign of failure and it’s not a sign that you don’t care about the children in your ministry. Sometimes, it’s a necessity. And sometimes, it’s the necessary start to something better.

1. Consider carefully why you are ending a program

There are many good reasons for ending a program. But keep in mind that sometimes we can be discouraged and begin to doubt the effectiveness of a program. Your discouragement is probably not a good reason to end a program. It is something that needs to be dealt with though.

Here are some reasons to end a program:

  • You already have programs that are fulfilling the same purpose.
  • You don’t have enough volunteers to effectively run the program.
  • You don’t have a leader to run the program.
  • The program is not effective.
  • There are not enough children attending.

This list is not exhaustive, it’s just a sampling of legitimate reasons to end a program.

Consider carefully why you are ending a program and be able to articulate the reason to those who ask.

2. How to defend your position

People will probably want to know why you are ending a program (especially if it seems to be going well.) It will be easier to defend your position if you have made communication a priority during this program.

Parents and the pastor or elders should already know what’s going on in the program. Why you run it, who’s attending, and its effectiveness.

How do you defend your position to parents? How do you defend your position to the pastor and elders?

Most importantly, people will want to know that you made a carefully considered, prayerful decision. Let them know about the process you used to get to your decision. And let them know what your plans are for the future.

3. Consider the future

Replacement of a program is not always necessary. If you have an effective program for outreach, then you probably don’t need a new one.

Sometimes an alternative is the answer. At the beginning of this article, I talked about a club program we had to shut down because we didn’t have enough volunteers. The idea was good, the purpose was outreach, the kids were having fun, but we didn’t have enough volunteers. One solution could be to shut down that particular club program and find an alternative idea that doesn’t require so many volunteers.

Maybe you are ending a program because you have an idea for something new. That’s okay. Communicate your vision to the pastor and parents. Make sure you have a solid purpose and plan for running the program.

Here’s a program evaluation tool that will be helpful in making the decision to end a program.

Here’s a blog post I wrote about using the program evaluation tool.

Email this to someonePin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+

Is it time for a check-up? Here’s a Program Evaluation Tool

SurveyNo matter what ministry you are involved with, periodic evaluation is necessary. Programs in children’s ministry can run for years with parents and volunteers assuming that everything is fine. But it’s important to take a step back every once and a while and really consider how a specific program is doing. Is it fulfilling its purpose? Is it meeting a current need?

Evaluation is important for every program in children’s ministry. If the program is doing well, then be encouraged. If it isn’t, then let me encourage you to use this as an opportunity for positive change!

The prospect of conducting an evaluation on a current ministry program can be daunting. Here is a tool that you can use to make the process simple yet effective.
This program evaluation tool uses 5 steps to conduct an evaluation and develop an action plan.

Step 1—Pray

This is the first step in an evaluation process, but it should also be sprinkled throughout the process. When doing an honest evaluation we need the Holy Spirit to guide us and convict us.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

In every situation, including embarking on an evaluation process, present your requests to God. And the promise is peace that will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.

So, pray before you begin and pray throughout the process.

Step 2—Define the Program

This particular evaluation tool was designed for one specific program at a time. During this step you will articulate the purpose, position on the children’s ministry spectrum, and vision of this particular program.

If you don’t have the answer to one or more of these questions, don’t worry. You can find the answer. It’s important to have these foundational things before you move on in the evaluation process.

Take the time you need to step out of the evaluation process and define the purpose of your program. Take a few minutes to plot where it is on the children’s ministry spectrum. Is it helping to fulfill the children’s ministry vision? If you need help with the children’s ministry spectrum or writing a vision statement, links are provided to articles that will help you.

Once you have defined the program, it’s time to move on to step 3.

Step3—Evaluate the Program

The program evaluation tool is divided into 4 categories: Purpose/Vision; Program/Curriculum; Volunteers; and Administration.  Within each category are a series of questions. To complete the evaluation, mark the column that best matches your answer to that question (“Absolutely”, “Somewhat”, “Not really”, or “Not at all”). Answer these questions as accurately as possible, taking into account the program’s current situation. Be careful not to answer based on what you want the answer to be but rather how it is right now. The more accurately you answer these questions now, the easier the next steps will become!

So be honest and take your time.

Step 4—Reflect on the Program

This section of the evaluation contains 3 questions for you to answer. These questions give you the opportunity to get down on paper your thoughts about this program. Use as much space and take as much time as you need. The answers you give here can help to reveal deeper thoughts and feelings about your program that you might not have answered in the evaluation chart in the previous step and these answers will help you as you go through the rest of this tool.

Step 5—Identify Next Steps

This sections contains a flowchart will help you identify potential next steps to take as a result of how you answered the evaluation questions. By the time you are finished you should have a list of things to do to improve your program.

Use the program evaluation tool to help you honestly evaluate your program and come up with a plan for what to do in the future.

Email this to someonePin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+

Children’s Ministry Spectrum

It can be difficult in children’s ministry to know what programs to run, what programs to continue, and what programs to stop using. There are so many options and so many fun things to do with kids.

Using a children’s ministry spectrum will help with the tough choices you need to make.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples.  As children’s ministry volunteers this is our commission. The children’s ministry spectrum uses this verse as a foundation.

The first step in the process is to go. There are children in our communities who need to hear of the love of God and the gift of salvation that is offered to them.

Outreach events

This is the first stop on the children’s ministry spectrum. Outreach involves meeting the kids in our communities, building relationships, and meeting their needs.

Outreach ideas include Breakfast Club at the local school, Mom & preschooler drop-in, Homework Club, Lego Club, Sports Camps, Drop-in programs after school, Mid-week clubs, after school care, drama camps, Christmas programs/parties, and Spring Break events.

It is so important to build relationships with kids and show our love by meeting their needs, but the command to make disciples requires us to share the gospel.  That is the next stop on the spectrum.

Evangelism

At some point we need to share the gospel with the kids we have been building relationships with. Especially when working with kids, the gospel needs to be shared more than once and in different ways. The truth of the gospel stays the same, the opportunities for sharing it, however, are many.

Evangelism opportunities include VBS, day camps, gospel-focused sports camps, backyard clubs, Christmas and Easter services, and one-on-one conversations.

Discipleship

New believers need to be given opportunities to grow in their faith and to fellowship with other believers.

Discipleship opportunities include individual or group mentoring, Sunday School, Children’s Church, Prayer Meetings, Mid-week clubs, Corporate Worship, and fellowship.

Service

Disciples need the opportunity to discover the gifts God has given them, develop them and then use them to serve in the church.

We need to give the kids in our care the opportunity to learn about Spiritual gifts, discover their gifts, and use their gifts in the church and community.

Missions

Disciples need the opportunity to go and make disciples themselves by being involved with missions. We need to give our kids opportunities to learn about missions, support missions, pray for missionaries & missions around the world, and be involved locally & globally.

These could include Missions events at the church, missions projects, opportunities to pray to missions, and community mission projects.

The children’s ministry spectrum provides a way for you to look at the children’s ministry of your church and see how you are doing in each area.

The spectrum is not made up of individual pieces, rather they blend together to create a cohesive children’s ministry.

I have created a worksheet for you to evaluate your current programs. It looks like this.

Print off this resource (PDF file) and plot your children’s ministry programs into the spectrum. Are there areas that are overwhelmed with programs? Are there areas that are lacking in programs?

I have also developed this wall poster for you to print and post on your wall to refer to.

I hope this is a useful tool for you and your team as you continue the work of children’s ministry in your church and community.

 

 

Email this to someonePin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+