A fresh new year. Blank pages on a calendar. This year, it’s even a fresh new decade! What better time is there for dreaming and visioning, both in our personal life and our ministry life? So for 2020, let’s dream about a few things to grow your children’s ministry!
3 Ways To Grow Your Children’s Ministry In 2020
Host a “no-strings-attached” community event.
In ministry, we try to make every single event about preaching and teaching. But, we cannot forget good old-fashioned fellowship!
Look around your community and ask yourself what local events are well-attended by community families. Does your neighborhood love live music? Are the people outdoorsy or adventure types? Would a chess tournament would speak to your community?
Whatever it is, find a way to host an event that will speak to the folks who live in your context. Host a free or low-cost event at or near your church. Outside of your church is even better! Allow people to see what you are doing.
Now here’s the hard part – resist every urge to preach at this event.
There should be no stories, no devotions, JUST FUN.
Have pamphlets of information about your church and some posters with service times. If someone has questions about their faith, answer them. However, for a vast majority attending, this is just an opportunity for them to see your church as a “safe place,” a place they can step into without fear.
I learned years ago that it takes approximately seven pleasant encounters with a church (that are NOT worship related) for a person who is “church-hesitant” to be willing to attend a worship-based event.
If we are not getting out into the community, showing them who we are, inviting them into a relationship with us, then how can we ever expect them to be brave enough to step into our sanctuaries?
Get into your local school.
If you do not already know which school is your local school, then go on your school district’s website. Then you will plug your church address into the “school locator” tool. The locator tool will tell you what schools a family would attend if they lived at your church.
You have just taken the first step to finding your people! These are the children who bike, walk, or ride past your campus every day. These are the families who see your church as a part of their neighborhood.
After you have determined the school to focus on, contact the principal. Making contact may take a few days-school principals are busy people! After you get in touch with them, here’s what you to say.
“Hi! I’m the children’s director at Faith Church just down the street, and we want to know how our church can better support your school? What are your biggest needs?”
After you speak, I want you to listen. Do not make suggestions, just listen.
Maybe they need tutors?
Maybe they need underwear for the clinic?
Maybe they need buddies helping in the car line in the morning?
Whatever their need is, try to imagine how your church can step into that need.
I guarantee that as your church begins to live into that school’s community, those families will start talking! Your efforts will cause you to become more than the church they pass on the corner.
In other words, you will be part of their lives, and before you know it, they will trust you enough to bring you their children for VBS, camp, and maybe even worship!
Stop worrying about the numbers.
Now, I know this article said it would be about growing your ministry. Maybe growing your ministry doesn’t mean increasing the number of bodies in your classrooms.
Growing your ministry means increasing the reach your ministry has in your community.
Growth means reducing the number of children who are freezing during the winter by supplying your local school with coats.
Maybe it means increasing the number of people in your area who hear the name of your church and say, “oh, Faith Church? They’re amazing!”
Maybe it means being the hands and feet of Jesus to a world that needs us more than ever – even when they are more likely than ever not to attend church.
It might mean re-thinking just what your ministry is and what it does.
Growth could even mean taking a deep breath and jumping into something completely unknown.
You can grow your children’s ministry.
Try these 3 ways to grow your children’s ministry in 2020 and you will see some positive impact on your ministry this year! There is a new year ahead of you, and with the new year comes new opportunities!
Annette Johnson is the Children’s Ministry Coaching Coordinator for YMI and has served in full-time ministry for over 12 years. She is a graduate of Florida Southern College in Lakeland. After several years of teaching elementary school, Annette entered into children’s ministry. Now she is a full-time coach, speaker, and teacher. She is married to Kevin, who is the pastor at HHUMC. Annette and Kevin have been married for 17 years and have 5 children. She loves singing, cooking, playing with her family, and binge-watching shows on Netflix.