Monday, July 13, 2015


Frowny kids? Stressed-out volunteers? Directional anxiety?

Have we got a solution for you!  These seven things are absolutely guaranteed to transform your children's ministry from grump to up!

Okay, not quite. Like any anything involving children, there is a host of factors involved. And the reality of ministry is that sometimes you can do everything right and still get bad results.

But if you need a little injection of "different" and "happy" in your weekly routine, or you just want to take the edge off some ruts that you're in, these are good things to start with.

1.  Smile. A lot!
One of the first things that vanishes when we're rushing around trying to get things done is our smile. Kids respond to smiles, adults respond to smiles, and even you will respond to your own smile (don't believe me? Look in the mirror and make the silliest grin you can and see if your mood doesn't improve.).

2.  Take the time to hang out with parents.
Politicians affectionately call what they do "grip and grin." Why do they do it? Because the few moments they spend shaking hands and engaging in a few moments of conversation makes a big impression. So too, it pays to connect with the parents. If your church has a foyer where people mingle before and after the service, go visit there. Take advantage of fellowship opportunities with other grown ups.  Make a connection.

3.  Do a funny voice.
Seriously, do it. While you're teaching the lesson, suddenly deepen your voice. Or make it higher. Or strange. Or break out into Minionese.  Kids love the unexpected.

4.  Educate yourself.
I'm not just talking about self-development resources, such as books, magazines, articles, and conferences.  I'm talking about educating yourself in what kids are involved in. In point #3 above, I mentioned speaking "Minionese". If you have no clue what a Minion is, then it's time to get on Google (or ask the kids!).  I remember a little girl coming in with a lunch box featuring the Power Puff Girls. I asked her what her favorite Girl was: Blossom, Bubbles, or Buttercup? Her eyes grew wide and she looked up at her mom and said, "He knows who they are!" Even just knowing the name of someone on the child's t-shirt will set you apart from most of the grown-ups.

5. Turn distractions to opportunities.
One of the kids brought an action figure to church. As he played with it during the lesson, it became more and more of a distraction. I could have confiscated the figure and warned him never ever to bring it again or else. Instead, I asked if I could borrow it to help teach the lesson. The boy hesitated for a second, then handed over the toy. I incorporated it into the lesson and the kids seemed to be paying more attention (maybe to see if I would keep it). But I learned that sometimes, distractions can be springboards to better opportunities. When the little girl wants to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" in worship time, it's a great opening to talk about the Creator of the stars. Restless older kids can be transformed into helpers. Tune in to the vibe of the kids and see if there might be ways to channel their distractions into opportunities for greater ministry.

6.  Always, always, always lift up the team.
Whenever you have opportunity, encourage your volunteers. Compliment them, thank them, pray for them. And if you don't have opportunities to do this, then make the opportunity. No matter what your level of leadership in your children's department, you don't do it alone. Consistent affirmation of volunteers translates into joyful energy in the overall ministry.

7.  Take your children's service seriously.
 Don't ever justify a half-way effort by saying, "It's just for kids." Plan, prepare, pray over each and every Sunday or mid-week service. It doesn't mean you can't be flexible, but it does mean that children's ministry deserves the same quality and attention to detail that the adult service does. Kids are important, so it's important to treat them that way.

What things do you do to add a little fun, energy, and positive vibe into your children's ministry? Please share in the comments below.