Growing up on the South Plains of West Texas, I always knew that March and April would bring high winds and lots of dust in the air. My mother still lives in my hometown and claims the dust storms clear the air—that once the gritty dirt settles, the air is fresh and clean.
Pandemics, I’m beginning to sense, are like dust storms in some ways. When you’re in the middle of them, you can’t see past the end of your nose. However, once the dust settles, kids ministry may be fresh with a sense of newness. Nonetheless, we’re still in the midst of the COVID-19 storm, so what can we do now to prepare for the clear skies that are sure to follow?
- Focus on your relationship with God. Now is definitely not the time to slack off reading and studying God’s Word, as well as spending time with God in prayer. Once the storm passes, we’ll need to be prepared for what’s next in kids ministry. Neglecting personal discipleship now will hinder our future ability to be in tune with God’s will.
- Take care of your physical and mental health. When you purchase a pre-owned vehicle in West Texas, look under the hood. If you see a lot of dust, you know that the car may not have been maintained properly. If we don’t take care of ourselves now, we may discover we have neither the strength nor energy to lead a vibrant kids ministry.
- Stay in contact with families. Families are hurting and grieving loss. They need ministry, now. If we wait until the dust settles to ramp up individual and corporate communication with families, we may send the unintended message that we care about them only when they show up in-person.
- Redefine ministry success. We may not want to admit this, but we often measure success by the number of kids in attendance. A post-pandemic kids ministry may appear smaller; however, that doesn’t mean God is not using you still to reach, teach, and minister to kids and their families.
- Clean up your ministry calendar. Perhaps for the first time in your ministry, you have the opportunity to start over. The pressure to keep a program alive will be lessened in a post-COVID world. Focus on what is important and build your ministry calendar from there.
Anytime I think about moving back to the home of my youth, I quickly remember the taste and smell of blowing sand between my teeth and in my nostrils. I also think about the fresh air and beautiful sunsets made possible by the dust. There is no doubt that the current pandemic and the suffering it is causing is serious and painful. However, let’s not dwell on and complain about the storm. Instead, let’s look forward to a kids ministry that is fresh and focused.
Landry Holmes is the Manager of Lifeway Kids Ongoing Bible Studies and Network Partnerships, Nashville, TN, and is a graduate of Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The author of It’s Worth It: Uncovering How One Week Can Transform Your Church and a general editor of the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids, Landry is a church leader, writer, workshop facilitator, and publisher. He teaches kids at his church in Middle Tennessee, where his wife Janetta is the Preschool Minister. They enjoy spending time with their two adult sons and their wives, and spoiling their five grandchildren.