by Kayla Stevens
Sunday mornings are busy at my house. Usually my alarm wakes me at an early hour. I enjoy the sunrise as I drive to church to prepare for the hours ahead. Usually this is the time I revisit the session I will teach one more time, pray over the small chairs in my classroom, clean and sanitize the room, hang new posters for Bible stories and main points on the walls, and make sure everything is ready to welcome the faces that will walk into my classroom for Sunday school.
But recently Sunday mornings have looked differently for all of us. And while I am still getting used to the slower pace of Sunday mornings, I deeply miss those smiling faces and I can’t wait to hear the music of my alarm on an early Sunday morning again soon.
In the wake of COVID-19, we find ourselves in uncharted waters of changing schedules, social distancing, and creating new mindsets of how we do ministry. Perhaps now more than ever, we have unique and creative opportunities to connect with families, encourage family discipleship, and reach out in creative ways to help families connect to their neighbors, one another, and their church.
Consider these options as you connect and encourage the families in your ministry in the coming weeks:
Social distancing does not mean social isolation. As you encourage your families to distance physically from others, remind them of the great opportunities they have in the weeks ahead to encourage their family and neighborhood in unique social engagement.
- Encourage families to decorate their homes in anticipation and celebration of Easter.
- Consider hanging Christmas lights to add cheer on evening walks.
- Create chalk art with a different message of hope and encouragement every few days.
- Guide your families to consider regular prayer walks to pray for neighbors. Introduce yourself to new neighbors (from a safe distance) and begin praying for opportunities to be a good neighbor and meet needs that you can meet of others.
Kids ministry leaders have an expanding opportunity to facilitate and resource families with healthy discipleship patterns that can continue long after normal patterns return. Help the families in your ministries navigate the uncertain days ahead by guiding them towards regular rhythms of spiritual discipleship through family led devotions, Bible reading, prayer, and Scripture memory.
- Consider printing out a world map and hanging it in your home. Let kids color the various countries and spend time each day praying for people who are experiencing suffering and hardship around the world because of COVID-19.
- Resource your families with Lifeway’s 7 Day Coronavirus Prayer Guide. Plan time each morning or evening to pray for the needs listed.
- Encourage families with fun Scripture memory challenges that will encourage them and remind them of their hope in God. Create a social media hashtag or additional ways for families to share the Scripture memory they are learning and include other families.
- Resource your families with trustworthy tools they can use to participate in discipleship and worship at home. Create a music streaming playlist of worship music families can use to worship together. Encourage families to post pictures of their family’s participation on social media and link your church’s information.
Parents and kids have big questions and they are looking to you for answers. In the midst of uncertainty, remind the families in your ministry of the certainty of who God is and His control over His creation.
- Reassure your families and kids that you are here for them, and that you aren’t going anywhere. Give information of your church’s operations and how you can be reached through several platforms (email, video, social media, cards, or letters). Let families know you want to hear from them and provide opportunities for virtual conversations through technology.
- Encourage families to practice healthy habits: social, mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional. Reassure them that this new season is temporary. Guide them with helpful topics of family discussion to help navigate difficult questions with biblical truth.
- Plan for fun! Help families look beyond the next few weeks and plan for fun activities they can participate in both now and in the future. Laugh with the kids and families in your ministries, even if it is through silly videos on social media. Bring hope and laughter to their worlds and remind them that this season is temporary.
As you lead and connect with the families in your ministry, reassure them of the steadfast love and character of God. Lead them to practice healthy habits in the weeks ahead, to hold fast to the hope within them, and to look for opportunities they have as a family to love and encourage those around them.
Kayla Stevens is the Content Editor for Lifeway Kids Discipleship. She is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and William Carey University. Kayla lives in Nashville, Tennessee and has served in Kids ministry for over 10 years.