Nathan Howard joins the podcast to discuss the names, games, and voices that are informing, shaping, and influencing kids.
Nobody has to tell us that these have been tough times in kids ministry. But it has also been a time to get creative. We cannot afford to pause or half-heartedly do ministry, so we need to find new ways to minister to kids and families in this time. That’s why we created the Kids Ministry From Anywhere webpage. This is a place filled with resources to help your ministry reach kids no matter where they are!
As we look to stay connected, here are a few ideas for you to do kids ministry from anywhere:
- Involve teachers and volunteers in a new way. Have teachers write a note and send the weekly activity page to their kids. You can also have the volunteers record short videos of encouragement and send them out to the parents.
- Encourage kids to take a picture of their completed work. If you are sending out activity pages, have kids send a picture of their completed work. As they complete it, send small prizes in the mail, or drop them on their doorstep.
- Have a “Decorate-your-door” contest. Families can decorate their front door and send in their photos. Have a place where everyone can see the photos of the different decorations
- Do a “Ding-dong ditch.” Deliver snack cakes to the front door of your families, with a note attached. Ring the doorbell and leave before you can be spotted!
- Bible reading challenge. Encourage your kids to read a book of the Bible during the week or month. Give them daily goals for what to read.
- Books of the Bible challenge. Encourage kids to learn the books of the Bible, and have prizes for those who memorize them.
- Do Zoom story time. Once a week, have a volunteer or teacher read a story to your families over Zoom.
It is important to stay connected and keep kids engaged during this time. As we seek to reach kids and families wherever they are, we can get creative with the things we do. Check out the Kids Ministry From Anywhere webpage for more resources and ideas to disciple your kids in creative ways.
Brian Dembowczyk joins the podcast to discuss the belief that possessions make a person happy—is one of the greatest lies that families and churches have accepted. At its core, consumerism is not an economic or political issue, but rather a gospel issue. we will explore consumerism’s dangers and how we can reject it in our kids ministries as we help our kids and families do the same.
by Sam Luce
If you would’ve told me our church wouldn’t have celebrated Easter together, conducted VBS online, and in October, we’d be canceling trunk-or-treat (our largest outreach to our community’s families) I would have said you were crazy.
Yet, here we are. Here we find ourselves in the odd position of coming up with an alternative to our Halloween alternatives.
Our church is located in New York state, and the regulations in our state are pervasive, so there aren’t many options for us to do anything close to most of these suggestions.
They would be logistically challenging for the size of our church or not possible because of COVID restrictions in our area.
But if your context allows and if you’re looking for a way to still engage families in your community, here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. TRUNK-OR-TREAT TRAIN
Have cars line up like a trunk-or-treat, but rather than walking through, do a drive-through and hand the candy to the kids through their car windows.
This would be very similar to the typical trunk-or-treat, but rather than having crowds of people mixing together, create a car tunnel.
Decorate these cars and have them open their trunks open and have cars drive-through and give out candy to kids as they drive from car to car or from station to station.
2. REVERSE TRICK-OR-TREAT
This would be something that could be done if you have a smaller group of kids or in a larger church that could be done by a small group.
Have the leaders dress up and knock on the families’ door from their church and bring them a bag of candy.
3. DO A HARVEST PARTY PARADE
Have people in church decorate their cars or make floats somehow and then have kids come to the church according to certain time slots.
Mark out appropriately distant spaces in your parking lot, creating a parade route.
Then, from decorated cars or floats done by individuals or ministries in the church, throw candy to kids and families along the parade route.
Consider securing a school parking lot if you wanted to do a more community outreach event.
4. IF RESTRICTIONS ALLOW, DO NEIGHBORHOOD PARTIES
Another option to make your fall festival parties smaller but still be outreach orientated is to identify key families in your church and help them do a smaller community party with kids from their neighborhood.
As a church, you could help make a few smaller parties successful through supplying the host families with candy and activities.
I like this idea because it’s outreach-focused, safe, and kids who perhaps wouldn’t come to your church may come to one of their neighbor’s houses.
Again, this is only if COVID restrictions in your area would allow for this. Please abide by the guidelines set out by your local and state officials.
5. GEOCACHE CANDY
This one may take some planning to pull off well but could be a blast. My kids love geocaching. They call it “treasure hunting.”
One way you could make a socially distant event is to hide candy in containers all over your community.
This would be outside, and you could provide wipes or hand sanitizer at each location for people to use as they would be touching the same container.
Mark down the candy’s location with GPS coordinates along with a hint like, “look in the trees for a treat.”
This may be a cheaper way to do an event as it would need less candy, and I don’t think the kids would mind because finding it would be almost as fun as eating it.
TIPS FOR ALL FORMS OF OUTREACH
Here are a few words of advice, no matter what you do this year for Trunk or Treat.
1. Make it memorable. Kids need distractions right now. School is different and for so many, routines are off. Kids need us to help them make the most of a challenging situation.
2. Make if fun. Just because it isn’t like what you normally do doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Do your best to make it fun for kids.
With a year like we’ve all had, something that brings a smile and makes you forget the difficulties—even for a few moments—is always welcome.
3. Make it legal. I can’t stress this enough: Know your state’s or local government’s regulations. You want your families and volunteers safe.
You want to make sure you reinforce to the families in your church and the families in your neighborhood that they can trust you and your church.
In these difficult times, we must care for their souls and not unnecessarily inflame their fears. This isn’t a time to make a statement, but to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ.
4. Experiment. Maybe you’ll create a new tradition. We so often get stuck in a rut doing what we’ve always done. Everything is new, different, and up in the air.
This is a challenging time to lead. But it can disrupt (in a good way) our normal way of doing things and lead to a new idea or creative outreach.
This can help us be even more effective at loving our neighbors and preaching the gospel.
Whatever you do, don’t lose heart.
In Voyage of the Dawn Treader, part of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, the story’s heroes are sailing through darkness and surrounded by their worst fears.
As all hope seems lost, an albatross circles the ship’s mast and whispers to one of the characters, “Courage, dear heart,” before leading them out into the light.
That’s the word for you and me in the middle of this crisis we face together: Courage, dear heart.
Be faithful where God has planted you and lead with the clarity of knowing that what we do matters, but it’s Jesus who builds the church.
This article originally appeared on Facts & Trends.
Klista Storts joins the podcast to discuss reasons God has chosen you, and specifically you, to serve where you are.
If you missed out on ETCH, Check out digitalpass.lifeway.com
By Nathan Jones (with Alyssa Jones)
I was serving on the hospitality team—brewing gallons of coffee each week, preparing communion, and welcoming people as they walked in the door of our church plant every Sunday morning. Add to that, an early men’s BIble study, plus a Monday evening community group meeting, and I had just about any reason not to serve in my church’s kids ministry.
But as I dropped off my own kids in the preschool and younger kids hallways, I recognized the need for more volunteers. So I approached our kids ministry director and asked if there was somewhere I could serve. A few weeks later, I found myself standing in front of a group of second and third graders. By the end of class, I had regrets.
My biggest regret? Not getting involved sooner. It turns out that kids ministry is not as hard or as scary as I imagined. In fact, I kind of had fun!
If you’re a man like me, you probably have some excuses for not serving in kids ministry. If you’re a kids ministry leader or volunteer, you’ve probably met someone like me. Here are seven excuses that regularly crossed my mind as I sat on the sidelines. Use these tips to encourage yourself or someone you know to serve kids at church.
1. It’s already under control. Despite the monthly plea for volunteers in the after-service announcements, maybe you assume the kids ministry doesn’t need any help. Or maybe you think it’s already full of volunteers who are great at what they do. Even if that’s the case, I have a hunch there are some overlooked laborers who could use a week off. Don’t be afraid to ask what the needs are.
To kids leaders: Be clear what you need. If everything isn’t under control, reach out and ask for help!
2. I’ve never taught kids before. You might be a gifted teacher, but maybe you prefer investing in adults who can handle your big thoughts of God. Well, there’s nothing more effective than preparing to talk to first graders to expose how little you actually understand God. You don’t need to fake it; dig down and ask for understanding. I’ve found that teaching kids the gospel has been the best practice to remember the gospel myself.
To kids leaders: Provide training for your volunteers. Allow them to observe a class before serving so they can better know what to expect.
3. Kids make me uncomfortable. Yep. That’s OK. The only way around that is jumping in the deep end. Take a genuine interest in them. They aren’t judging you. Yes, there may be challenges, but there will also be moments of joy and connection that outweigh the discomfort and awkwardness.
To kids leaders: Help new volunteers find a good fit. If someone is nervous around babies, let him try working with elementary-aged kids.
4. No one has asked me. Unless someone has told you no, the offer to serve kids stands. You might already have in mind what your strengths are. Ask for a role that suits your skills. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, but do remember the church is like a body and all the parts can work together in service to God’s kingdom.
To kids leaders: It can feel discouraging to be told no when you ask people to volunteer, but keep asking. A “no” now might be a “yes” during another season.
5. I don’t have kids. Being a parent is not a prerequisite to working with kids. In fact, you might be able to offer kids some fresh energy and enthusiasm while blessing tired parents. Look at the unique opportunity to share the greatest news with the future of the Jesus’ church every week.
To kids leaders: Don’t be afraid to ask adults without children to serve in kids ministry. Cast a vision for discipling the next generation.
6. I have kids. I get it; you need a break. Volunteering in kids ministry might mean missing the sermon from time to time. But you can make the sacrifice for a season to serve others’ kids—and even your own. The Bible has something to say about laying down your life for the sake of others.
To kids leaders: Make sure volunteers have access to a recording of the sermon if they miss out during a teaching rotation.
While making coffee, cutting the communion loaves, and holding the door open for visitors are all noble acts of service, those don’t have quite the impact on me as kids ministry does. A classroom of young kids is often a mission field, and kids are eager to learn! So don’t run away when you see your kids ministry leader coming toward you. Better yet, surprise your director by approaching him or her first. You won’t regret it.
Nathan and Alyssa Jones worship and serve at Refuge Franklin, a church plant outside of Nashville, Tennessee. They have three children.
Help preschoolers learn that God is our Creator and King with this free activity page download focusing on creation.
Andrew Hudson joins the podcast to discuss how to build your team around you.
Fall is a time that we have new leaders and seasoned leaders serving in our children’s ministry areas. Have you done anything lately to show them how much you appreciate them? This year it may be more important than ever! Check out the simple project below: