Friday, August 4, 2023

What Message are You Sending?

When it comes to your Children's Ministry, do you believe your Sunday school is an important part of what you do? Would you firmly say it is worth the time of the children and families for children to be there on Sundays? If so, what message are you sending if you stop offering Sunday school in the Summer? If it is something you are able to cancel for the Summer - or some part of the Summer, and it is acceptable for children to not participate in Sunday school during those times, why is not not acceptable for them to just write it off and stay in bed the rest of the year?

I was blessed to be able to learn about what effective Children's Ministry looked like and how to pull it off from Jim Dahl. He was in charge of Education at the church where I was a member when my children were young. I ended up the Children's Director at this church and he showed me how to roll out the sidewalks and kick it into high gear when Summer arrived. We held our VBS on Sundays all Summer long. We actually had parents tell us - almost every week - how they had planned to skip church and go to the lake or up in the mountains on Sunday, but the children wanted to go to church first, so they did. Yes, children actually wanted to be at our church before they went to the lake or the mountains for fun on Sundays in the Summer.

Being a part of a ministry which viewed the Summer as the best time of year for real ministry, I have never understood when churches think it is okay to cancel Sunday ministry to children in the Summer. I just do not get it. If it matters for children to be there during the school year, it matters for them to be there in the Summer. If we cancel, it sends the message the Children's Ministry is not so important - it is okay to miss it for the Summer - one quarter of the year. It also communicates it does not matter enough to the leadership - they are not willing to put the work into staffing and planning engaging opportunities to help children learn to know, love, and follow Jesus. 

And, Summer Ministry is more than just Sunday school - and it needs to be more than playdates in a park. What have you done with your ministry this summer? There are still a few weeks to go, what might you do to at least end your summer on a high note?

These must not be messages we want to send, but in far too many churches they are the messages we do send. So, if you are planning to cut or eliminate ministry to children during the Summer - please reconsider. What message are you sending?

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