7 Tips for the Most Productive Planning Meetings Ever

It’s happened to all of us. You stifle a yawn, check the time, and sigh. This meeting is taking forever! We have all been in meetings that have been too long and too specialized. Planning meetings are important and happen for a variety of reasons in Children’s Ministry. We need planning meetings for VBS, Fall Kick-off, Christmas Pageants, Sunday School, Community events, etc. Here are 7 tips to help you have the most productive planning meetings ever!

Cast your vision at each meeting

Planning meetings often involve the nitty gritty of Children’s Ministry. They are about dates and times and places and volunteers. It is all too easy to get bogged down in detail And what ends up happening is the team being unable to see the forest for the trees.


Kids who personally know, genuinely love, and passionately obey God.

Remind your team of the bigger picture at every planning meeting. Lift them up out of the bog of detail with your vision for the children in your ministry. It is so encouraging and invigorating to hear how the event they are planning will help to fulfill your vision for the kids they serve.

Kids who love God with all their heart and desire to grow in him more.

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. When a volunteer feels mired down in details, your vision statement will help them to see beyond the present frustrations. Knowing that there is a bigger picture will motivate your volunteers.

So, take a few minutes at the beginning of each planning meeting to cast your vision.

Only Call Necessary Meetings

You may, in the past, have had monthly/weekly meetings to prepare for big events like VBS. People expect them and you call them simply because that is how it has always been done. Let me encourage you to rethink how you call planning meetings. Instead of having a weekly meeting just because you always have, only call necessary meetings. Your team will appreciate the fact that you are respecting their time.

Have a clear purpose for each meeting

This tip goes hand in hand with the previous tip. Know what you want to accomplish in the meeting and as a result of the meeting. Make sure everyone at the meeting knows ahead of time or right from the beginning what the purpose of the meeting is. This allows to you stay on track and keep all participants on track as well.

Respect People’s Time

We have all been at meetings that seem to drag on and on. Have a deadline for your meeting and stick to it. Let your team know how long the meeting will be when you schedule it and then do everything you can to keep it to that time period. When your team knows that one hour meetings are actually one hour meetings, they will be more likely to show up prepared and ready to participate.

Only invite those who need to be there

These tips are all interconnected. Once you know the purpose of your meeting, you will know who you need to invite to that meeting. You don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, so let the team know ahead of time that everyone is valuable and important to the team; you also respect everyone ‘s time so there will be meetings that not everyone is invited to. Only invite those people who need to be there.

Every person there should leave the meeting with an action list

The best way to ensure a productive meeting is to give every person a to-do list. This, again, is connected to knowing the purpose of the meeting.and only inviting those who need to be there. Every person at the meeting should leave with an action list as a result of the meeting. They should have at least one item they need to accomplish before the next meeting.

Make it fun

Finally, make your meetings fun! Plan a brief ice-breaker game if it’s the first time a team is meeting together. Play fun get-to-know-each-other games. Serve coffee or cold beverages. Encourage a fun, relaxed atmosphere. People will be more productive.

I’ll Be At CPC20…Will You?

I’m heading to Florida!

I’m excited to participate in CPC20!

International Network of Children’s Ministry (INCM) reached out recently about teaching some breakouts at their upcoming Children’s Pastor Conference (CPC20) in January.

CPC20 will be held from January 14-16 in Orlando, Florida.

I’ve chosen three breakouts that I”m excited about:

Nursery as Ministry: – Forget Babysitting! You’re Kingdom Building!

Too many people think nursery ministry is just babysitting. But it’s not! You have the opportunity to lay a strong foundation of Biblical truth. Learn how to include short prayers and key foundational Bible truths in your routine; discover how to have a Biblical conversation with babies; and inspire your nursery staff to rethink nursery.”

Sticky Students: Tips for Application Time to Make Scripture Stick       

Will the lesson you taught on Sunday be remembered on the playground on Monday? Application time connects the Bible to your students’ lives. Discover effective techniques to keep application time on track, learn to include all the kids (whatever their personality), and find out how to make the Bible real for today’s kids.

Steps To Building An Amazing Bible Memory Program In Your Children’s Ministry

Is Bible memory still a relevant spiritual discipline in today’s fast-paced world? It is! And in this breakout you’ll discover the 5 simple steps that you can implement immediately to create an engaging, effective Bible memory program that will help kids grow as disciples.

:I’m excited to be at CPC20 and I’m rolling up my sleeves to create amazing breakouts that will enable the attendees to serve Jesus and kids.

I hope to see you there!

Hands on top. Everybody Stop! – Crowd Control Tips for Group Leaders

You’re in the middle of the lesson and from the back of the room you hear a loud burp. The room erupts with laughter and chatter. Suddenly you have lost the attention of the class and the focus of the kids is now on the child that burped. What do you do?

Crowd control is a skill that everyone who works with kids needs to develop. Whether running games, teaching a Sunday School class, or leading a small group, as the leader you need to have control of the group.

There is a difference between crowd control and individual misbehavior.

When kids are chatting and messing around – that’s crowd control. Use crowd control techniques to get everybody back on track.

When a child is not keeping his hands to himself and distracting other kids – that’s individual misbehavior.

Crowd Control Tips

Use an Attention-Getting Technique

I am the games leader for kids in kindergarten to grade two at our mid-week club program. The first week of clubs we were in the gym playing. I didn’t tell the kids what to expect or what it meant. I just said it – in the middle of a game. The gym was loud and the kids were running around and I said, “Hands on top. Everybody stop.” I put my hands on my head. The kids stopped and put their hands on their heads and looked at me. Amazing!

There are many different ways to get kids’ attention. You can dim the lights; blow a whistle; use a call and response; clap a sequence that the kids have to copy. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you pick one and use it consistently for that situation. So, for game time, when I need the kid’s attention, I say, “Hands on top. Everybody stop.”

Positive Reinforcement

Crowd control is all about teaching kids how to behave in group situations. One great way to do this is to reward those who are behaving well.

If you notice kids doing what they are supposed to be doing, let them know it! Thank them for behaving well. Reinforce positive behavior rather than negative behavior.

Verbal affirmation is great. Every once in a while, reward the group with candy or a fun activity. Mix it up and have fun with it.

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.

8 Reasons Why I am Thankful for Children’s Ministry Volunteers

childrens-ministry-be thankful

Children’s Ministry volunteers spend extra time with kids who need it.

I saw this happen during VBS. One child was pushing the limits and required extra attention. Two of my volunteers didn’t even hesitate. They spent the time needed with him and even spoke with his parents when they came to pick him up. By the end of the week, that child showed respect for those volunteers who spent that extra time with him. Another child who attended VBS had just lost an 11 year old friend and was grieving. One of the volunteers listened when he needed to talk, forgetting the schedule and what everyone else was doing. He gave that extra attention and care to a child who desperately needed it. I am thankful for Children’s Ministry volunteers who spend extra time with kids who need it

Children’s Ministry volunteers add fun and laughter.

VBS was scheduled to start in 2 days. The stress level was high and decorations still needed to go up and the team doing it was small. I pictured myself and my husband pulling an all-nighter in the church basement hanging streamers and ocean creatures from the ceiling. And then 8 volunteers showed up (of all ages) and a stressful evening turned into an evening of fun and laughter. The work got done (and it looked great!) and we had such a good time! Volunteers add fun and laughter to jobs that need doing, but they also bring joy to events with kids. Kids need to see joy from volunteers and they need people in their lives who add fun and laughter. I am thankful for Children’s Ministry volunteers who do both.

Children’s Ministry volunteers are committed.

These volunteers commit to a wide variety of roles with a wide variety of time required to fulfill those roles. Not only that, but they are committed to learning and getting better at what they do. I am thankful for volunteers who are committed to serving God with the gifts He has given them for His glory!

Children’s Ministry volunteers are creative.

There is a whole spectrum of creativity and I have worked with volunteers on both ends of that spectrum! I have worked with volunteers who are creative in designing décor and classroom. I have worked with volunteers who are creative in building a team and accomplishing goals. I have worked with volunteers who are creative in finding ways to connect with and relate to kids. I am thankful for the creativity of Children’s Ministry volunteers.

Children’s Ministry volunteers are willing to get down to a child’s level.

They tell terribly unfunny (to adults) jokes because they know that kids will laugh uproariously. They do skits and puppet shows. Our song leader recently told me about how his family was laughing at him because he was in his living room dancing around learning actions to new songs for our Sunday School kids. I am thankful for Children’s Ministry volunteers who are willing to put aside their pride and connect with kids on their level.

Children’s Ministry volunteers often spend many hours outside of their specific role preparing, decorating, and building relationships.

A Sunday School teachers responsibility may be for 1 hour on Sunday morning, but they spend a couple of hours preparing during the week. They also spend extra time decorating their classrooms and getting to know their students. I am thankful for Children’s Ministry volunteers who are willing to spend time outside of their primary responsibilities.

Children’s Ministry volunteers support each other.

I am currently responsible for a team of Sunday School teachers (and a fantastic team they are!). I have discovered over the last few months that I am often the last person to know if someone is going to be away. And that’s not a bad thing, because they are finding replacements, switching schedules, and stepping in to help each other. I love it! On top of that kind of support, volunteers support each other when life gets hard – praying for each other and offering to help where needed. I am thankful for Children’s Ministry volunteers who support each other.

 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:4

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