Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Outreach! Mid-Week Ministry . . . and more!

Yesterday, when it comes to outreach, we looked at re-focusing opportunities you currently provide . . . such as Sunday school and VBS . . . and being sure your vision, passion and plan are fully implemented in them. Today we will consider another thing you are probably already doing and some questions to help you "re-focus" it to be a truly effective outreach . . . mid-week ministry.

Most churches have a mid-week ministry, but many of them experience limited "success" with this outreach. Again, the first thing you need to do in regards to your mid-week ministry is determine what your goals and vision are for this ministry. Why do you have a mid-week ministry? Who are you primarily gearing your mid-week ministry for? Are you primarily focusing on reaching out to your community or do you want to use your mid-week ministry to equip Christian children? When your mid-week ministry ends each school year, what do you want to have accomplished? How do you measure success in your mid-week ministry? Can the people in your church tell "why" you have mid-week ministry?  Do the people in your church support your mid-week ministry and are they willing to be involved in it? These are important questions to consider when evaluating your mid-week ministry.

After you answer these questions and know your goals/vision, it is time to look at the materials you are utilizing for your mid-week ministry. During the month of April I'll provide a review of mid-week curriculum complete with a side-by-side comparison chart. There are a few familiar mid-week curriculum/program lines most of us are familiar with . . . such as AWANA, FW Friends and Pioneer Clubs. Each of these programs have similar goals - outreach to unsaved children - and some have better components for children who are Christians. Again, it is important for you to know what your goals/vision are for your mid-week ministry so you can find your best curriculum/program "fit". If you are experiencing limited success in your mid-week ministry, it may be because the materials you are using do not "match" with your goals/vision. Are you using a particular mid-week resource because it is what you have "always" used, or are you using the materials you are using because they are your best "fit"? When it comes to mid-week ministry it is important for you to honestly evaluate what you are doing and to do so with an "everything-is-on-the-table" approach. If something is working, then by all means, continue to do what you are doing! If however; it is not working, then there are changes that need to be made.

I know of a church in Palo Cedro, California that took a very intentional approach to their mid-week ministry. They truly wanted to reach un-churched children with their mid-week ministry, so they utilized Boy Scouts for the boys and Camp Fire for the girls . . . they found parents who were not interested in attending church valued those two programs and were willing for their children to attend church so they could participate in Scouts and Camp Fire. They also found the local public schools allowed them to promote their clubs to the children in the schools because they were Scouts and Camp Fire! The church added a Bible teaching and memorization component to their mid-week ministry so when children came to their church for Scouts and Camp Fire, they also learned about God's love and Grace! Christian children were able to grow in their walk with Jesus and participate in Scouts and Camp Fire as well. If you have reaching un-churched families in your community as a goal for your mid-week ministry, take a serious look at Scouts and Camp Fire! They may be a great "fit" for your ministry as well!

If your goal/vision for your mid-week ministry includes reaching un-churched families, consider providing a "cafe'" for the parents, staffed by adults from your church. Invite the parents to sit down for a cup of coffee and make it a very relaxed atmosphere. Provide information on opportunities for adults - parenting classes, marriage classes, cooking classes, fellowship opportunities and more by making posters to hang in your "cafe'". Train your adult "staff" so they know how to be welcoming and that it isn't their "job" to "preach" to these parents, but rather to befriend them and talk to them and build a relationship as one parent to another.

Mid-week ministry is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to your community and touch families who are not interested in attending church on Sundays. If your mid-week ministry is presented with enthusiasm and excellence it will attract attention - both of children and of their parents.

In addition, mid-week ministry is an excellent opportunity to help "put feet to their faith" and equip Christian children so they remember and understand God's Word and know how to take it out of the doors of the church and live it in their everyday lives. Be sure to provide opportunities for children to serve others - both in their community and around the world. Mid-week ministry is a wonderful time to work on service projects - make it a station on the evening's rotation so each and every week the children are involved in doing something to serve others!

As you consider outreach, take a good look at what you are already doing with your mid-week ministry. Where it needs to make changes, make those changes. Where it is doing things with excellence, continue to strengthen those areas and know as you do, you will be able to reach out to your community and make a difference in the lives of both un-churched and Christian children! Watch in April for my mid-week resources review!

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