Measuring and Grading Towards a Nice Objective May Allow Us to Totally Miss the Greater Goals of Kids’ Ministry
1. Set High Attendance Goals.
In KidMin, we prefer bigger groups over little groups. It really is a nice goal. There are some really cool ways to make your group bigger: more parties, more toys, more candy, more games, awesome videos, awesome staging, awesome costumes, awesome music, awesome dancing. Give them what they want. And put an object lesson in it.
Some of the advantages of having big attendance numbers are:
- Bragging rights to your peers
- Good impression on your ministry supervisor
- Potential for merit-based financial incentive
- Invitations to speak at KidMin conferences
- Ministry success book deal
Obviously, these are not Kingdom goals. And hopefully, you are not like that. You simply want to have more students because that means more kids get to hear the Gospel and experience the love of Jesus. And you know that higher attendance is not the ultimate objective.
2. Promote Team Spirit.
As you move toward ministry improvement, you cannot neglect your team. Volunteers are scarce and insecure. You need to grab them, brand them and keep them. Your team needs to know that they are the best team in the church. You want loyal workers who breathe, walk, and dream children’s church. How can this be done? By creating an environment of possessiveness, dominance, and self-admiration. While these attitudes do not belong in the Church, they are there. Examine yourself:
- Have you ever heard yourself talking about “my workers… my ministry… my rooms… my equipment… my resources… my area” as if you owned it all?
- Do you feel that your ministry is in competition with the “other” ministries?
- When an “outsider” needs to use your space or equipment, which do you immediately display: the animosity of possessiveness or the bliss of openhandedness?
- When one of your faithful workers moves on to another area of ministry, do you experience a sense of generous fulfillment or a sense of bitter resentment?
It is possible to build a team without building a personal kingdom. Encourage team members to contribute, collaborate, fellowship, and unify. Squelch any symptoms of competitiveness, isolation, self-interest, or egotism. Bring your gifts, talents and resources to serve the whole church. There is only one God, one Church, so seek that Kingdom.
3. Make kids behave.
I often say it was a good day because no one got hurt in Children’s Church. It feels good when the kids wait their turn, talk politely, behave respectfully.
However, I know in my heart that good behavior does not necessarily indicate a changed heart. I could be merely squeezing lost boys and girls into my Christian-shaped mold. And I know that it is much more important for kids’ hearts to be transformed by God than it is for kids’ hands to be folded in their lap while I am speaking.
Recently, I have been starting our “free time” with an encouragement for the students to demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit to each other as they play together, not because I have the goal of an expected behavior but because they need to learn how to live together as Spirit-empowered people.
4. Get kids saved.
We want everyone to come to a knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That’s a good goal. Remember that line from the Great Commission:
Go and make disciples…
We often ask students to do two things: lifting your hand and repeating a prayer. These aren’t bad things to do, but they don’t make you a disciple.
We can be so focused upon adding another kid’s name to a list that it becomes the final goal when it is really just the beginning of a new life in Christ. We need to stop treating the introduction to the Story as if it was the conclusion. There is more. Much more. Inspire your team to lead children to Christ, engage them in mentoring/discipleship, and apprentice them into service/ministry.