Thursday, February 1, 2024

Be Aware of the Impact You Make

As a leader in your church's Children's Ministry, you matter. What you do matters. The decisions you make matter. You and these things matter, because you, the things you do, and the decisions you make impact the lives of the children and families in your church. For this reason before you do something or make a decision, please consider the following things you may not think to consider . . .

  • How will what you do/this decision impact the lives of the children and families?
  • Will what you do/this decision make your Children's Ministry a place where children want to be?
  • Will what you do/this decision leave children disconnected or will it help them build strong connections with leaders and other children who believe?
  • Will what you do/this decision equip and encourage parents and grandparents to hand down confident faith?
  • Will what you do/this decision leave grandparents who hand down confident faith alone feeling more alone, or will it show you are there for them?
If what you do/the decision you make have an unplanned negative impact, you will find not only are children left not wanting to be part of your Children's Ministry, but often this means grandparents and even parents end up not being able to be involved at your church as well. Why, you ask? Because particularly if the grandparents are the ones who bring their grandchildren to church, it is often only IF their grandchildren want to go to church. If the Children's Ministry is a place where the children do not want to be, if the grandparents have their grandchildren at their home on the weekend, they are not able to go to church when their grandchildren do not want to go. This means you lose the children AND the grandparents - as well as the influence you could have had with both of them. This also means the grandparents often feel even more disconnected and alone.

Let me share an example with you - I know of a church where for decades their Children's Ministry went through the Fourth Grade. When a child reached Fifth Grade, they moved to the Middle School Ministry which was part of their Youth Ministry. When children reached the Fifth Grade, they physically moved to the Youth area of the church and so they felt like they needed to be more mature, because they were no longer children. They enjoyed deeper studies and being able to participate in activities such as retreats, movie nights, and other special events. They were pretty much happy in the Middle School Ministry.

But then, for some reason they never communicated to anyone, they decided to move the Fifth and Sixth Grade back to the Children's Ministry and physically moved them to new rooms in the Children's Ministry area and changed their leaders/teachers as well. Some of the new Sixth Graders did not like the changes and stopped going to church. Unintended consequences which have serious negative impact on children and families. Plus, the new leaders/teachers did not follow up with these children, so they decided they were not really wanted and did not matter. Some of these children never returned to church again. Not only unintended consequences, but a desperately negative impact.

What should you do to avoid this? Ask for and seek out input from grandparents and children before you make any significant change in your Children's Ministry. Carefully consider the ways a possible decision may negatively impact the children and families in your church. Be ready to make changes quickly if a decision you make has unexpected negative impact on the children and families.

You matter. What you do matters. The decisions you make matter. Be careful and make decisions which build up children and families.

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