Monday, August 14, 2023

Take the Blinders Off!

Okay - today I'm writing about something I care so very much about . . . Children's Ministry. Some of you who read this need to know, what I'm writing doesn't really apply to your Children's Ministry . . . but before you read a bit further and decide your ministry isn't the ministry I'm talking about, read the whole post and ask God to remove your "blinders" and help you honestly evaluate to see if there might be at least some of what I say which applies to your ministry.

I don't have horses . . . the one time I rode a horse the entire camp laughed about it all summer long (I was a counselor at a camp and they thought it would be nice for the counselors to have an opportunity to ride the horses . . . I just couldn't get my horse to go straight and kept getting "stuck" in the bushes - it was an experience!) 

However, even though my personal horse experience is limited - and not highly successful - I do know about "blinders". They are put on some horses to help keep them from being distracted by the things around them. Blinders can be good, but I think in Children's Ministry they can also keep us from being effective.

We don't know what we don't know. We think we know what we are doing and we move forward, but when we look back for results - children and families with changed lives - we see our Youth Ministries still ended up being a "salvage ministry" because we really missed the mark in our Children's Ministry. So, what can we do to keep from "missing the mark"? Consider the following -
  • Regularly and consistently measure and evaluate what you are doing. Ask children every week, month, or at least every quarter, what they learned and how they lived it in their everyday lives every day. If children can not answer these questions - or just tell you they learned about God - then take a serious look at your curriculum. Is it written to help children remember, understand, and live God's Word? If it is not, then find a new curriculum. (Take a look at Deeper In for Children.) If it is, then get serious about training your volunteers how to utilize your curriculum so children will remember, understand, and live God's Word.
  • Have you introduced parents and grandparents to the curriculum you are using with their children? Do they understand how to get the most out of your family fliers? Do they know how to build on what you taught all week at home? If they do not, then plan some focused training for parents and grandparents - during adult Sunday School and from the preaching on Sunday.
  • Ask someone who isn't involved with your Children's Ministry - perhaps from a different church - to visit your Children's Ministry. Ask them to observe, ask questions, and then share their observations with you. You don't know what you don't know - and it is too easy for you to not know when you don't know something. Get someone else who isn't "close" to your ministry - someone who can be objective and honest and then listen, really listen without becoming defensive.
  • Do not make the mistake of thinking just because someone is "on your team" they have as much to offer as someone else. I was once on a CE committee where there were people who truly did not know very much about Children's Ministry, but because they were on the committee, their opinions had as much "weight" as did those who knew about Children's Ministry. We all may "have pieces to the puzzle", but the pieces may not be to the same puzzle. Be sure the people who make the decisions know what they are doing.
When we do not equip parents and grandparents, do not measure what we are doing, and do not know what we do not know, we end up paying too high a price . . . we lose our children. The price is too high to pay. Take the "blinders" off and be sure your ministry is headed in the right direction!

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