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My Vision for Children's Ministry


I'm involved in KidMin Academy's online diploma program.  I've been in for six months already. I can't believe it!  One of the assignments for this month was to write 500 words of my vision for my children's ministry.  I procrastinated all month.  I can talk, but writing things down is harder for me and consequently why I don't blog as I would really like.  Since the assignment was to write a blog post I thought I would share it on my blog.  I'm sure it will need refining along the way but this is my vision today.

My Vision for Children’s Ministry

I envision a place for all children to feel safe, loved and wanted. I will address each of these and my vision for making it happen.

Safety:
Children should be able to feel safe at church. Safety comes before any teaching can be done. If a child does not feel safe and secure or parent does not feel that their child is safe, there is nothing that can be done during the session to bring them closer to Christ.  They will not even be able to listen to anything going on if they are feeling threatened or insecure.

Some ways to make sure children and parents feel safe:

  • ·         Check in system and child info.  Knowing the child is present (you don’t want to lose a child!), and knowing about medical or allergy needs is critical.  We also need to know any information about the child’s needs for instance, are they in a divorced family? Do they have special needs or restrictions? Does the child have separation anxiety or any other type of emotional needs? 
  • ·         Room Safety: Are there safe exits? Secure entry ways for unauthorized persons? Age appropriate furniture and toys?
  • ·         Background Checks: Are all leaders screened properly? Are they approved by team leaders or the pastor?



Love:
Children NEED love.   They may not know it and some may have trouble expressing it but the need is there none the less.  A child cannot know the love of Christ whom he can’t see if love isn’t shown by the people he can see.  In most cases kids know that their parents and families love them. Of course we have kids who don’t really know that kind of love either and so all the more they need to get it at church!  We must pray constantly to be Christ to the kids. They must see unconditional, agape, eternal love in us before they can receive Christ’s love.  We aren’t just here to teach facts about the Bible.  We are here to bring them to Christ.  To show them how to walk with Him and rely on Him for all things.  Real love isn’t easy sometimes but it is what kids need.

Some ways to make sure children feel loved:

  • ·         Appropriate touch and encouragement.  Sadly, we must be careful about touch but not to the degree we leave it out altogether.  High fives, side hugs, fist bumps etc are ways to show affection to children in an appropriate way.
  • ·         Knowing the child’s name.  If needed use name tags. Call the child by name often, not only when disciplining.
  • ·         Encourage children when they need it, not only saying, “good job” when they do something we like but letting them know we love them even when they do something bad.


Wanted:
Children need to know we WANT them in our class or session.  They know that adults have to care about them most of the time but a lot of adults don’t LIKE kids and kids know it.  They will gravitate toward peers if we don’t get into their world and become like a child, not childish, but childlike.  Make kids feel like you really want them there. Decorate the space in themes THEY will like, not what YOU will like. Get to know the things they like and use these in your lessons.  Sit and talk with them one on one not always as the “up front leader” but as a friend.  If you actually LISTEN they will talk to you.

Ways to let a kid know they are wanted:

  • ·         Ask them about their interests.  Listen to their stories.  Yes, they are something silly or boring but they are very real to the child and important.  Remember kids don’t have all the life experience you have so things that may seem silly to you are very important in their world.
  • ·         This was in the love section but it belongs here too.  Use their name! Kids love to hear their own name.  Put their names around the room somehow.  They love to see their “name in lights”.
  • ·         Encourage kids to join you in a task.  They love to help!
  • ·         Look them in the eye. 
  • ·         Don’t do all the talking. 
  • ·         Listen to the prayer requests about dead puppies and purple sparkly bicycles.  Take them seriously.  They are serious to the child.
  • ·         Smile and get excited when you see them.  Ask how their last soccer game went.  Better yet, make time to go watch them play!
  • ·         Always discipline in love.  Some children just have a harder time with things than other kids.  Remind them of the rule they broke, the consequence and that you know that will do better next time.  Give them a bit of grace. No, they don’t deserve it, but neither do we and Christ gave His life for us.  Never forget that when building relationships with kids.



I will add that not every single one of these is being practiced at my church yet but I have a vision for it and we are working toward this step-by-step.  Everyone at my church is a volunteer so our lives take many directions every day.  I wanted my vision to be real and doable and I think it is.  I don't want to be so lofty that we could never achieve the goal. Yet in reality none of this is possible without the power of Christ working through us.  

What are your visions and goals for your children's department? I'd love to hear other ideas and learn from you.

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