Wednesday, June 22, 2011


They say the secret to a business’ success is location, location, location. But there are also those who suggest, for the small or medium sized church, that in order to have someone present the lesson to children each week, the secret is rotation, rotation, rotation. In other words, get a bunch of volunteers, put them on the schedule to teach each week, and then no one person has to miss out on the “main service” all the time.

But as I stated in the introduction to this series, it is my humble opinion that such a weekly rotation is counterproductive to effective children’s ministry. I believe there are three reasons why this is true. Reason number one was Inconsistent Preparation. Today, we present reason number two:


When it comes to making a children’s church hour pop and sizzle, Jan is tops. Every powerpoint slide is synched with the cd player. Because the church lacks a children’s praise band, Jan uses children’s worship dvds, each one cued and ready to go with nary a gap. And everyone remembers when Jan taught Noah’s Ark. The tub of water, the scale model of the ark, all the kids wearing animal masks, and the feel of the spray from the spray bottle as they marched around made memorable impressions.

The following week on the weekly rotation is Margo. As I watched Margo, she was friendly enough with the kids. She sat them down on the floor in front of her chair. And then she pulled out….the teacher’s manual. With little or no eye contact, she began to read the lesson to the children. It’s not that she was a bad reader…she wasn’t. It’s just that it sounded like…..well, like she was reading the lesson. At one point, the lesson directed the teacher to show the kids the particular prop for that story. Margo stopped, set the book down, picked up the prop and held it up, picked up the book again and resumed reading.

Volunteers have mixtures of talents and gifts. No two teachers are going to teach or present a lesson the same way. And I am certainly not advocating that we make them. But as we pointed out in the previous post, there should be an expectation of consistency. If a multi-media enhanced, upbeat music infused, participatory lesson is followed next week by faded flannelgraph punctuated by 30 year old camp meeting songs, it creates a massive disconnect in the overall children’s ministry plan. And it doesn’t take too many rotation cycles before the kids notice that certain teachers do a great presentation and certain ones don’t.

I believe the best place for rotations is with support roles. Unless your children’s church is so small that one person is all that’s needed, you still need folks who can circulate among the kids, help with games, crafts, or snacks, or lead a song or two. This is where a rotation is useful. But if you want a high level of consistency each week in the overall presentation or lesson, there needs to be a consistent teacher who is responsible for bringing the same level of presentation each week.

As always I welcome your comments, observations, suggestions, or experiences as we learn from one another and build each other up.

Next time: Inconsistent Participation.

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