Having a plan is the difference between saying you want to reach children and their families and actually accomplishing your goal. Reaching children is a team effort that involves every aspect of ministry to children. No matter how your children’s ministry is organized, you must have a plan for outreach.
Begin by recognizing that you already have a reaching team in place. Every children’s ministry leader is a part of that team. Also recognize that it is not enough to say, "Let’s get out there and reach those children!" You need to get organized.
In order to effectively reach these children, your reaching team must establish at least four things:
- A System of Accountability. Every child on your roll should be assigned to a teacher for caring and ministry. Contact 1•2•3 is a method leaders can use to keep track of the children in their group. The first contact is made by mail, the second is by phone, and the third contact is a personal visit to the child.
- A System of Record-Keeping. Churches pass along information about prospects in various ways. Make sure that a process is in place for your department to receive information about children who visit worship services with their parents as well as prospects discovered through other outreach and visitation efforts. Gather information about guests who visit your Sunday School. Assign all prospects to a ministry leader immediately for follow-up. Be sure to maintain up-to-date and complete records for all prospects and members.
- A System of Discovery. Be proactive in seeking prospects for your ministry. Plan outreach activities, and encourage children to invite their unchurched friends. Participate in your church’s outreach visitation program. Always be on the lookout for ways to increase your reaching effectiveness. People are great resources. Draw from their experiences, and never be afraid to ask for help. Remember that reaching is a team effort.
- A System of Reporting. In order to function effectively as a reaching team, leaders must plan and pray together as a team. Use a portion of your leadership meetings to plan for outreach. This is the time when you share and assign prospect information, plan activities, report on visits, share prayer concerns, and discuss ministry needs. It is also a time to hold each other accountable for the outreach efforts.
It is not enough to say "I want to reach children." The words are of no benefit unless you take action. In order to take action, you must have a plan. Set a time right now to meet you’re your children’s leaders. Develop your plan and "Go."
Thanks to Vickie Knierim for contributing to this post.