There’s no magic bullet for successful children’s ministry, but there are ways to significantly improve what you’re doing. Here are ten ways to strengthen children’s ministry:
1. Cast a compelling vision.
To envision is to imagine, plan beforehand, or ponder the possibilities. What has God placed in your heart and mind? People need to know the why and where of children’s ministry. Help your congregation visualize a future that’s appealing and captivating.
Read the article (4 min) – A Vision for Future Children’s Ministry
2. Develop a strategy.
You can’t accomplish your vision without a strategy to get there. How will you do what needs to be done? Every children’s ministry needs a plan to achieve the overall aim. Work with stakeholders (children, parents, grandparents, teachers, and senior leaders) to figure out how you will “reach, rescue, root and release children to grab hold of their inheritance in Christ and transform their world through His power.”
Download – A Strategy for Evangelizing and Discipling Children
3. Equip a team.
Prayerfully identify and extend a personal invitation to potential co-workers (don’t do general appeals for volunteers). When you ask someone to join the team, tell them what’s expected, clarify what they will do, and describe how they’ll be supported and trained.
Watch the workshop (10 min) – How to lead a children’s ministry team effectively
4. Provide first-rate training.
Equip parents and co-workers through in-person and online workshops, seminars, conferences, videos, podcasts, and webinars. Make resources, articles, and books available. Offer recommendations, guidance, and encouragement.
Use animated and live-action training videos – School of KidsMin
5. Connect with Jesus and His Story.
Your time together must be Christ-centred and Scripture-rich. Major in the Gospels, especially with younger children. Bible studies should prioritize knowing and growing a relationship with Jesus. Avoid curriculum that emphasizes values, morals, heroes, or behaviour modification.
Teach children how to use a Bible reading guide – Scripture Union
6. Support families.
Parents should never feel isolated or alone. Help parents embrace and excel as the primary disciplers of their children. Regularly share the best resources for families. Provide advice, assistance, spiritual counsel, and a deeper level of dialogue about family faith formation.
Read the article (3 min) – Family Faith Formation
7. Cultivate intergenerational relationships.
Pay more attention to enabling the faith interactions of children with different generations. Grandparents can be game-changers. Harness them to take dynamic and deliberate roles in discipling their children (the parents) and grandchildren (or quasi-grandchildren).
Watch the Two Minute Training – How can we involve grandparents in children’s ministry?
8. Be inclusive.
Welcome children of all abilities, exceptionalities, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Make your activities accessible to children with different needs. Pay special attention to children in the margins. No action or interaction is insignificant. Create space and opportunities for participation. In accordance with their gifts and abilities, involve children as active contributors to the church’s mission.
Watch the Five in Five workshop – Five tips to include every child
9. Prioritize people, not programs.
Do home visits. Pray together. Invite input and participation from children and parents in planning and running activities. Share personal faith stories. Be there for children’s special events (e.g. graduation, baptism, school concert). Coach a children’s sports team. Engage in conversations, ask questions, listen, offer counsel, and provide relational support.
Read the article (3 min) – What’s the Best Way to Connect Children With Jesus?
10. Teach yourself.
To learn and grow in your capacity to minister to others, you must be a perpetual student. Read good content from trustworthy sources, connect with others in similar ministry roles, and regularly attend training events.
Check out – Top Children’s Ministry Blogs
11. Pray earnestly.
There’s one more way to strengthen children’s ministry that I must mention: Prayer should be at the heart of your strategy. The neglect of prayer is a huge limitation to the health and growth of children’s ministry. Without Jesus present in a compelling way, children’s ministry is futile and fruitless. So pray earnestly, and make sure your prayers are, as author Daniel Henderson says, “Scripture-fed and Spirit-led.”
Check out – Praying for Children’s Ministry
Finally, as I said in another article, “The aim isn’t to grow children’s ministry; it’s to grow children.” So think about these ten ways to strengthen children’s ministry as ten ways to strengthen children to love and live wholeheartedly for Jesus.
Developing a New Plan for Children’s Ministry
What’s Truly Important in Children’s Ministry?
Dad and Lad Podcast
Two-Minute Training Videos
How do we champion children’s ministry in the church?
How do we effectively develop children’s ministry?
How do we strengthen a child’s connection with a local church?
© Scripture Union, 2022