I teach 2nd graders at my church every Sunday morning. I love being in there with these kids and watching them as they grow in their knowledge of the Lord. It is fun to see them as they blossom. I enjoy talking with the kids in my class and finding out what makes them tick. I think many times, in our quest to fill volunteer areas, telling potential volunteers about the importance of connecting with the kids in their classes is left out. For many, they think that their volunteer service is the one hour a week they give with the kids. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a huge part of it. However, for kids, the volunteer in their classroom is like their own personal minister. It’s important that we encourage volunteers to connect with the kids in their class. Here are some tips for helping your volunteers connect with kids.
- Send letters or postcards. In terms of connecting with kids, I’ve found this to be one of the most effective ways. Kids (especially younger kids) love to get mail. I’ll send them little notes and ask them a silly question. It’s not uncommon for several kids to bring their postcards to class and show me that they got it. That gives me an in on really trying to connect with those kids. They know that I am thinking about them during the week.
- Host fellowships. This is one area where I can definitely preach to myself. I don’t do this nearly enough. I can say, however, that my “class fellowship” hero is my wife, Abbey. She is great at planning fun events for her fifth grade girls’ class. She has about one event every quarter. My favorites that she hosts are a father-daughter date and a mother-daughter tea. She wants to connect to the kids and their parents.
- Attend their sporting events. This one is a little easier for me than it would be for others because we live in a smallish suburb and I have four kids involved in sports. It really means a lot to the kids, though, when they hear their Bible study leader cheering them on. I remember when my oldest son was four, his Sunday School teacher came to watch him play soccer. It was like a famous person was in the crowd.
- Pray for them by name. As you have opportunity, pray for the kids in your class by name. Ask God to give you meaningful conversations with each one. In a group setting pray for each child by name, thanking God for a unique characteristic that he or she displays. When they share a prayer request, honor them by praying for the request then and as you go throughout your week
Being a volunteer in kids ministry is more than just teaching kids about Jesus. It’s showing kids what a relationship with Jesus is like.
Jeff Land is Publishing Team Leader for Bible Studies For Life: Kids. He hold a BSW from Mississippi College and a MACE from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jeff has served as children’s pastor and currently teaches second graders each week at his church. Jeff, his wife Abbey, and their four sons live in Coopertown, TN.