If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. This is also true in Kids Ministry.
Every year I take time with my team to evaluate and celebrate things that happened the previous year and think about what we need to focus on for the upcoming year. I give my leaders a checklist of things to start the creative thinking process:
- Do you have enough volunteers?
- What does your room look like? Is it tidy & organized? Counters cleaned off, cupboards organized?
- Signs – Posted in appropriate locations?
- Schedules – Are they posted in volunteer areas?
- Curriculum – Printed? photocopied? Bins ready to go?
- Sets & Props for Large Group Time?
- Music – CDs ready to go in the room? Worship Teams ready & on same page?
- Small Group Bins – Ready to go? Do they need any basic supplies?
- Room Supplies – All stocked up?
- Toy Cleaning – Do you have times/dates scheduled for this?
- Meeting with your Volunteer Team – Large Group Teachers? Room Leaders?
- Welcome Letter/email from you to your volunteers.
Once they read through this list of questions, I ask them to write down 3 goals for each of the following categories:
- 3 months from now
- 6 months from now
- 12 months from now
Every year I am amazed at the goals that they come up with. They set the bar high & go beyond what I had hoped for. We take time in our meeting to give everyone a chance to share their goals. This helps build the sense of team as they share their ideas with each other. Each month at our meetings we review these goals & check-in to see how they are doing with them. More times than not, they accomplish their goals well before their target date. I am reminded every Leaders Meeting about the importance of setting goals, reviewing them & taking time to celebrate the things that God is doing!
Finding leaders can be challenging. Usually it takes time for you to find people who are willing to serve at the leadership level. So how does this happen?
Almost all of my leaders have come from serving faithfully in kids ministry rooms, and I have asked them if they would consider being at the leadership level. Going from a new volunteer to a leadership role usually happens one step at a time. Let’s take a look at the process:
Step 1 – This type of volunteer is new to volunteering. They probably volunteer in a ‘helper’ role with very little responsibility. Start small and don’t overwhelm them. It’s important to get these volunteers connected with a more experienced volunteer who they can build a relationship with, and see the benefits of volunteering on a regular basis at a higher level of leadership.
Step 2 – Increase the level of frequency. When people volunteer on a regular basis, they can see the results faster. They build relationships with kids faster & get to know them better. They begin to see the results of their investment in the kids lives.
Step 3 – Increase the level of responsibility. Once they have had some time to see various roles in action & they have time to learn the culture of the ministry they are involved in, they may be willing to do a little more to help the team.
Step 4 – Invite them to be a leader. Meet personally with the volunteer & cast the vision of why you think this person would make a great leader. Highlight the benefits of leading & the impact it will make on their life.
I have been to the Leadership Summit several times at Willow Creek Church in Chicago, IL. It’s a great time to focus on leadership & renew my passion for leading people. Several years ago I heard Bill Hybels speak about the 3 C’s when it comes to building your dream team. Bill also talks about the 3 C’s in his book Courageous Leadership. As I look for people to be leaders in children’s ministry, I remember these 3 things and ask the following questions:
1. Character – Are they a Christ Follower? Do their words & actions reflect this? What is their character like? Are they humble? Do they have a servant’s heart? Do they have a positive attitude?
2. Competence – Are they capable of doing the job? Do they have the skills & gifts needed for the role they are filling? Are they self-motivated & have a high level of excellence?
3. Chemistry – How will they fit on the team? Will their personality work with the rest of the people on the team?
Bill lists these 3 things, and is careful to note that they are in a specific order. Character is the most important thing. Someone might be capable of doing a job, even excel at it, but if their character is not in the right place, he would not bring them onto his team.
What do you look for in a leader?
Crossroads church in Cincinnati, does a great job of communicating to parents what the lesson was about in the kids program. At the door of each room they have a sign that they change each week. They list 2 questions that parents can ask their child to start a discussion about that day’s lesson. I loved that it was simple, visual, and user friendly!
Another thing they do is post the lesson plans online. Parents can see what the lesson was about, what the small group questions were, what they did for connection time etc. It helps give parents a place to start to chat about the lesson when they get home.
To take it a step further, they post the videos online that they use in their lessons. That way, the families can watch them together at home.
What can you do to help families continue the lesson discussion at home?