A church with a good children’s ministry stands head and shoulders above other churches. Many parents choose a church based on quality of children’s programs. Many questions are essential: Does my child feel comfortable here? Is he being taught biblical principles? Is my daughter safe? Do the workers visibly demonstrate their love and care for the children?
But there are three things that will dramatically impact a children’s ministry if they are absent.
Poor Communication. Good communication is not always an easy task, but the simple truth is that the better the communication the more likely a program is to be successful. Whether it be with parents or with volunteer workers it is an essential. A weekly e-mail or handout about what the children learned in class each week can do wonders. Another consideration is a small packet of information for new parents. For instance, it might include a page with nursery policies (ex. no males change diapers or don’t put children in the nursery unless they have been fever free for at least 24–48 hours).
Limited Volunteer Training. Many people who work with children are extremely gifted and so it can be easy to forget that training is often a necessity. For example, is there a plan for a fire escape and do your volunteers know what to do in emergency situations? Have any of them been trained in CPR? Or, on a spiritual note, have they had training in how to share the gospel with a child? I recommend evangelism training at least once a year. If a church is not able to do a live training, the evangelism ministry EvanTell has free, online training for children’s workers.
Lack of Love & Respect for the Children. When some parents brought their children to Jesus, his disciples rebuked them and tried to send them away but Jesus replied, “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16). While we may not actively turn children away in our churches, our words and actions can speak volumes. Do we always put our best workers with the adults and the kids? How much effort is put into the children’s program? Do we pray for our children on a regular basis? Do we love them like Jesus did?
What other things have you noticed that drive families away from a children’s program? Have you ever left a church because of a poor children’s program? What suggestions would you give to children’s leaders?