Regardless of age, weekly ministry is a key component to a child’s development and allows them the incredible opportunity to learn about God’s love, grace, and redemption in tangible ways.
Here are eight helpful tips to create a kids’ ministry that is effective and fun.
1. Be playful
To relate to children, it’s important to speak to them in a language they understand. This includes exerting the same kind of energy they do. When you, as a minister, meet all children where they are by being playful, they will respond favorably and are more likely to enjoy Sunday school. In addition, there are many games you can play that will get children to participate and help them learn lessons in a more engaging way. Although kids can be exhausting, your effort of intentionally playing with them will definitely pay off and they will, in turn, be more present during children’s ministry.
2. Make it personal
Everybody, including children, appreciates when you remember their names and address them personally. That is why praying for each child and leader by name is powerful. It helps foster community, ensures the children get to know each other, and helps all to learn everyone's names.
3. Create an engaging environment
Having a space that children love worshiping in every Sunday is an essential part of a successful ministry for kids. There are many ways you can go about it, but decorating your meeting room according to the theme of the week and including activities such as arts and crafts will go a long way in providing children with an environment that speaks to them and enhances their ministry experience. In addition, wearing team shirts can help children identify safe adults to talk to, and bright colors and posters designating age group sections can help with routine. Applying all these tips will help you make the children's meeting space inviting and safe.
4. Provide regular encouragement
Children respond strongly to affirmations, so remember to encourage them regularly. Providing encouragement at all life stages, especially when a child is very young, will make Sunday School a positive experience for them. Encouragement doesn’t only refer to the words you say but also the tone and volume you use when speaking to them. The way adults interact with children is crucial to their development, self-esteem, and future, so give compliments where they are due. This will make Sunday morning interactions happy and affirming for all kids present, and ensure they enjoy returning to kids’ ministry each week.
5. Get parents involved
Since parents are the number one source of influence in a child’s life, it goes without saying that having them involved in Sunday school adds immense value to your weekly ministry. By engaging the parents with conversation and encouraging them to have spiritual conversations with their children, you ensure that your lessons go beyond your weekly church. Once parents are involved, the gospel’s impact will be much more significant, and their children will be more engaged in learning about Jesus and attending children’s ministry.
6. Have consistent volunteers
Aside from parents, other adults children interact with regularly have a significant impact on their lives. The same is true of the volunteers in your children’s ministry. That's why it's essential that children aren’t exposed to constantly changing volunteers but instead to consistent volunteers with whom they can form a connection. By encouraging leaders to serve faithfully, teach boldly, and give selflessly, and by providing quality equipment and curricula, you make leading exciting for each volunteer and provide the kids in your ministry with consistent leaders they can trust and look up to.
7. Focus on teamwork
Teamwork and consistent organization are crucial to a successful ministry. Every leader should be on the same page, and all expectations should be clearly communicated. While it's normal for everyone, including ministry leaders, to experience burnout, you can prevent this by planning and cooperating with other areas of your ministry. By building solid teams of individuals who are aware of their responsibilities, you foster strong community bonds.
8. Differentiate yourself from regular school
Many kids either don’t enjoy school or view it as an unenjoyable part of their days. During the weekends, children want to feel free, have fun, and forget about school. While Bible lessons also involve education and require learning, you can spoon feed these to kids by making your curriculum as fun as possible. Play games, sing songs, and get kids involved. This will make Sunday school lessons feel less like regular school and more like an extracurricular activity that they look forward to every week.
Unlike regular school, Sunday school should be where children meet their friends and feel they can have fun and engage in playful learning. While following a curriculum is essential to ensuring the kids take away valuable lessons, creating an engaging space, speaking to the children in a way they understand, meeting them with compassion and encouragement, and being well prepared and organized will ensure that your weekly children's ministry is a success.