The following is a guest post by Kim Harris, Director of Church Leadership Development, West Cobb Church, Marietta, GA.
It seems that children have many different attendance patterns. Ball games, extra-curricular activities, family schedules and custody arrangements all create sporadic attendance patterns for children and their families. Regardless of how badly children want to attend church, irregular attendance in church by the parent filters down to their children.
One natural reaction is to remove children from the department rolls. Whatever you do, don’t remove them from the roll! Once removed, that child will have no contact from your church and you will have no opportunity for ministry to the child and his family. For many of them the contact they receive from your church may be the only Christian influence they receive. The class roll is evidence of a commitment you have made to the children to minister to them. Don’t let them down!
Instead, think of creative ways to strengthen this ministry role. Here are just a few ministry tips concerning absentees:
- Balance care groups among teachers with chronic absentees and kids with regular attendance. This will help the absentee be familiar with all the teachers in a department.
- Vary the forms of contact with mail, telephone, email, class newsletter, activities, and Children’s Learner guide page.
- Send the child a puzzle, activity, CD, or picture from the Leader Pack at the end of a unit.
- Attend a ball game, school activity, or church camp.
- Encourage a child to write a note to an absent classmate.
- Remember birthdays and special achievements.
- Pray for the child and his family regularly.
Remember, the goal is to provide ministry to the child. Let’s work and pray that our response will be worthy of a “Well done, faithful servant!” when we come to life’s end.