Sometimes the number of things that need to be done in Kids Ministry can be overwhelming. How do you balance the urgent things with things that should be a priority? So many times the urgent can take a lot of our time, but they are not necessarily things that are a priority. A Kids Ministry To Do List might be just the thing you are looking for. It’s not just any to do list. It’s specifically designed with things in mind that are important for a Kids Ministry Leader.
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!
I am starting to plan for the fall & the events that we will do for this next ministry year.
To kick off the Christmas Season, we have a Gingerbread Party on the last Saturday in November. It is for families to build a Gingerbread House together. We have several stations that families can go to:
Gingerbread Station – all the ingredients needed to build a Gingerbread House. The house pieces are ready to be assembled. The icing is ready to go in a piping bag & there are 6-8 kinds of candies on each table for them to decorate their house with.
Craft Station – a fun foam gingerbread man ready to decorate. Glue & decorations ready to go.
Coloring Station – several options of Gingerbread people & houses ready for coloring.
Bounce House – to burn off some of that sugar.
Photo Booth – a professional photographer takes photos of families. They are emailed a link where they can download their pics.
Snack Station – home made sweet treats to have a little snack so they don’t eat all the candy before it gets on the Gingerbread House.
Take Home Bag – info about our upcoming Christmas Events at our church, Christmas stickers & coloring sheets.
This event is for church families & for families from the community. It’s a great opportunity for church families to invite non-church friends.
I am getting ready to go on another church tour. I am taking some of my key leaders from my Kids Ministry with me. We will drive for about 8 hours one direction, do a little shopping in the US (something Canadians get quite excited about), and spend time attending various classes & services at the church we will be visiting. We will spend time together in the vehicles and get to know each other in the process. We will ask a million questions to our gracious hosts (aka Kids Ministry Staff & Volunteers) . We will come home with our brains ready to explode from all that we saw, heard & experienced.
You should go on a church tour! I am sure there is a church within driving distance that you could learn from. Here are some reasons why you should invest time in going on a church tour:
1. Seeing vs Hearing. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. You can learn so much from seeing something rather than just listening to someone tell you about it. You will notice details and things that people take for granted.
2. Casts Vision to Your Team. You should take a team of people with you. It will multiply the learning experience and the enthusiasm will be way higher than if you came back to try to tell your team all about the church.
3. It’s FREE! OK, well almost free. You will probably have some travel expenses if you are going any distance, but unlike attending a conference, there is no registration fee.
Is there a church in your area you could connect with and go on a tour?
One of my favorite sayings is, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
I was at Willow Creek Church, sitting in their board room, with a team of Kids Ministry people from around the world. One of the staff from the Willow Creek Association was leading our session on Strategic Planning. I was thrilled to get an inside look at the process that Willow uses for Strategic Planning. (more on that in another post) I was reminded how important it is to take time to do Strategic Planning.
Each year, it’s a good idea to sit down & work through a process of strategic planning. I suggest you do these steps:
1. Take time to pray and ask God to show you what He has in His plans for Kids Ministry this year.
2. Set aside time in your schedule (like a whole day, or a few half days) where you can focus on strategic planning with no interruptions.
3. Write down what the Goals are for your Kids Ministry. Then pull out your ministry calendar & make a list of all the programs & events that you did in the past year. Evaluate. Did these programs & events help you accomplish your goal?
4. Write down your new or reoccurring goals for the upcoming year. What steps do you need to take to accomplish those goals? Write down those steps.
5. Sit down with your Sr. Pastor & share your plan with him. Make sure your plans line up with the mission & goals of the church.
6. Then sit down with your leadership team or key volunteers and walk through the plan with them. Get their input & feedback.
7. Communicate your plan to the people who need to know. Share relevant information with volunteers & parents. Let them know that you have a direction & a plan for that year & you want them to be a part of it.
8. Strategic planning doesn’t end there. Schedule dates in your calendar to evaluate your plan along the way. Several times a year do a double-check to see if you are on track and accomplishing your goals.
9. One more thing. Don’t forget to celebrate & thank God for what He has done. As you look back on the year, be reminded of what God has accomplished & celebrate it. Share stories. Write a report for your Sr. Pastor. Email stories to your volunteer team to remind them that their hard work is making a difference. Say thanks to God for all that He has done.
I am part of a team of Kids Ministry People from around the world brought together by Sue Miller. I get to represent Canada on this team of amazing people! At our last international meeting Pat Cimo gave us sheets of paper in 3 different colors. She asked us to write down things about our Kids Ministry in the following categories:
Green – What do you need to keep doing? These are things that are going well, and helping you accomplish your vision and values.
Yellow – What do you need to slow down on? These are things that you need to evaluate & decide if they need improvement or to be cut.
Red – What do you need to stop doing? These are things that are costing you time & resources and are not helping you accomplish your vision for Kids Ministry.
What aspects of your kids ministry could you put into these categories?