Bigger is Better, Right?

Are you a small children’s ministry? Do you sometimes look at larger children’s ministries and think, “If only we had their budget, their volunteers, their space?”

Bigger has become equated with better. Bigger children’s ministries have more money, more space, and more volunteers. That must mean that they offer more value to the kids who attend their programs. They must offer better children’s ministry.

We all have these thoughts. But is bigger automatically better?

Where does the true value come from in children’s ministry?

Making DisciplesRelationships

The true value in children’s ministry is not in the budget or the space, it starts with the relationships you and your team build with the kids in your care. Do you take the time to get to know the kids in your programs? Do you start outreach programs with the express purpose of getting to know the kids in your community? Building relationships is a key part of children’s ministry.

Gospel

Children’s ministry is important because it is an opportunity to share the gospel in an age-appropriate, targeted manner with kids that you have been building a relationship with. Budgets, space, and a huge volunteer base won’t mean anything if they are not being used to help you share the gospel with the kids who attend your programs. The gospel is key; it’s central to everything we do in children’s ministry. Are you regularly sharing the gospel with the kids in your ministry?

Are you making disciples?

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

This is what it’s all about: Children’s Ministry is about making disciples. Jesus commands us to make disciples. The true value in children’s ministry is the opportunity it allows us to make disciples of kids. We build relationships, we share the gospel. Why? In order to make disciples. And when children do put their trust in Jesus, we build them up as disciples teaching them how to pray, how to study their Bibles, how to use the gifts God has given them to serve and build up the church.

Are you making disciples in your children’s ministry?

Budget

Whatever your budget is, use it to build relationships, share the gospel, and make disciples.

Volunteers

However many volunteers you have, make it your goal as a team to build relationships, share the gospel, and make disciples.

Space

Whether you have a huge amount of space or one small classroom, creatively use the space you have to help you build relationships, share the gospel, and make disciples.

So, is bigger always better? Not necessarily. The focus shouldn’t be on how big your children’s ministry is. The focus should be on making disciples. It doesn’t really matter what size your budget is, what size your space is, or what size your volunteer team is. What matters is whether you are using those things to help you make disciples.

Stuck in a Volunteer Training Rut?

childrens-ministry-stuck-in-a-rutDo you have a favorite way of training your volunteers? I do. My favorite volunteer training method is a group training session. I love having everyone together! It’s a great way of fostering team spirit and it is a great way of see right away if the training topic makes sense. There is nothing wrong with having a favorite way of training. But sometimes we can get into a habit of only providing that type of training and forgetting that they are many other training methods.

Spice things up by using a variety of training methods. Here’s a list of 10 different training methods. Mix and match as you plan your volunteer training for the upcoming year.

10 Training Methods

1. Group Training

Volunteers are invited to attend a training event, usually at the church. The purpose of group training is to offer information, ideas, and encouragement to your group of volunteers as a whole or to a specific group of volunteers, like your nursery care workers or your elementary teachers. Meeting together is important. It’s promotes a team atmosphere and offers an extended learning opportunity.

2. Pop-up Training

Pop-up training is short, practical, on-the-spot training. Pop-up training works best when it’s limited to a small, specific group of volunteers. This type of training is about 2-5 minutes in length and focuses on a single issue. For example, you meet with your toddler teachers before Sunday School and provide 5 minutes of training on how to handle a temper tantrum.

3. Video Training

There are a number of different types of video training, but I am going to focus on customized video training through YouTube or vimeo. You or another leader create a short training video specifically for your volunteers and make it available to them on youtube or vimeo. This type of training is convenient for your volunteers as they can watch it at any time. It’s a good idea to put a deadline on viewing the video and to ask your volunteers to respond via email with some thoughts on the content.

4. Conference Training

There is something energizing and exciting about attending a Children’s Ministry conference. Whether you as leader attend or you and a small group of volunteers attend, it is worth the effort every once in a while. It may not be possible for the entire team to go, but you could send one person and ask them to share what they learned with the team when they return. Also, often seminars and conferences offer video or audio online. Encourage your team to watch or listen to a specific seminar

5. Email Training

Children’s Ministry leaders can send regular training tips and ideas via email. Once a month, send out an email to your team with training tips and ideas. Be careful not to send email training too often. You don’t want to overwhelm your volunteers.

6. Book Training

When you come across a good book or magazine article, share it with your team. Encourage them to share their thoughts when they have read it.

7. One-on-One Training

This is mentoring. Grab a coffee with a volunteer and provide some one-on-one encouragement and training. With this type of training you can be very specific.

8. Shadowing

Partner a beginner with an experienced volunteer. If you have a new volunteer who has never served in Children’s Ministry before, this type of training could be valuable for them. This is training through mentoring. Partner the beginner with an experienced volunteer and training will come through observation and building a relationship with the experienced volunteer. Not all experienced volunteers will be comfortable with this type of training. Meet personally with people you think would be well suited and explain exactly what it will look like. For the beginner, it is an opportunity to watch an experienced volunteer and ask questions as they arise. It is kind of like an apprenticeship.

9. Creating a Handbook

Put together a handbook that is specific to your Children’s Ministry. It should include safety policies and procedures, discipline information, vision, purpose, and mission, as well as anything else you feel will be helpful to your team of volunteers.

10. Webinar Training

Webinars are becoming more and more popular – they are like seminars but delivered over the internet with the seminar provider being in a completely different location. Webinars can be live to a group of volunteers or volunteers can sign in to a webinar from their home computer.

 

Plan a variety of training methods. In the end, you will be able to provide more training through diversity. Offering a variety of training methods also allows you to be strategic. You an offer specific, highly practical training when you use a variety of training methods.

5 Qualities of Good Kidmin Volunteer Training

Volunteer TrainingHave you ever gotten home from a training event and thought, “That was so good! It was fun and practical and encouraging! I can make use of what I learned right away.”

That was a good training session! Here are 5 qualities of a good kidmin volunteer training session.

1. Relevant

A good kidmin volunteer training event will include information and ideas that are relevant to each individual that attends. This is not always easy to do, but it’s so important. Oftentimes, there are entire groups of volunteers who are left out during training sessions. If you invite everyone, make sure the training is relevant to everyone. Include information and ideas for all of your volunteers.

2. Applicable/Actionable

A good training event is one where each attendee knows how to apply what they have learned. Not only that, but each attendee comes away with an action plan for using the new information. Everyone who attends should have at least one practical idea that they can implement within a couple of weeks of the training event.

3. Engaging and Fun!

Volunteer training should be fun! Enjoy being together and learning together. Plan fun games and activities. It is really important that volunteers are engaged during training sessions. It is more likely that your volunteers will be engaged when the information is relevant.

4. Digestible Within the Time You Have

Don’t try to teach more than can be reasonably understood in the time you have for training. This is an issue that I struggle with all the time. I try and cram too much into a training session. I need to accept my own advice – teach one thing! Plan your training event with a specific topic in mind. Allow time during the training for your volunteers to digest the new information; to ask questions; and to practice any news skills taught.

5. Inspiring/Positive

Be positive! Good kidmin volunteer training includes encouragement! Volunteers should be inspired to continue through tough times because they are working towards a higher goal – kids who are growing disciples!

Kidmin volunteers deserve quality training that is relevant, applicable, engaging, fun, digestible within the time allotted, and inspiring. As you plan for your next volunteer training, remember these qualities and you will end up with a great volunteer training event!

Bright Ideas For Children’s Ministry

I was recently asked to contribute to a new book that was being released for Children’s Ministry leaders and volunteers. This book is full of tried and tested ideas for Children’s Ministry – Object Lessons, Crafts, Games, Leadership, Missions, Teaching Activities, Technology, and Worship.

50 ideas in one volume – that’s a resource that anyone would want!bright-ideas-cover-md

This book is available on kidology.org.

And even better – here’s a code to get $5 off if you buy the book before the end of the year – SAVE5JH

Check it out and consider adding it to your resource library!

 

Leading Kids in Worship

Girl twins  with arms raised.I love worship times with kids! It is such a privilege to lead kids in worship and to worship together with kids. But like any Children’s Ministry activity there needs to be a goal. Do you have a goal in mind when you lead kids in worship? I believe that the goal during worship time with kids should be to stir reverence and evoke worship.

Stir Reverence

Reverence is an attitude of deep respect tinged with awe. Another way of saying it would be to excite adoration.

The best way to do this is to focus on God. Focus on big truths about God. Highlight God’s goodness, faithfulness, love, holiness, awesomeness. Show kids that the God we love and serve is a big God worthy of our love and worship. Focusing on who God is allows for response.

But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple. Psalm 5:7

 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29

 

Evoke Worship

Evoke means to call up. Humans are worshipers. If we are not worshiping God, we will be worshiping something else. To evoke worship then is to call up worth. To worship is to ascribe worth.

Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1

 

How to Reach Your Goal

Since true worship is a matter of the heart, we can’t know what is going on in the minds and hearts of the kids we are leading in worship. But we can teach them what worship is and guide them toward moments of worship.

Directing kids to focus on God alone leads them toward worship. Plan every part of your worship time with the goal of directing kids to focus on God alone.

When we are confronted with who God is, our response is reverence, awe, and worship

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Psalm 105:1-3

 

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