These days, there seems to be a common theme: children’s ministers are perplexed by the fact that people aren’t attending church regularly. The inconsistency in attendance makes it hard to feel like you are making a difference in the lives of children, not to mention how it creates problems for scheduling teachers and volunteers.
Pinpointing why attendance is so inconsistent is impossible. There are many contributing factors like the impact of technology, people staying at jobs for shorter length of time resulting in the more transient nature of society, and the increased numbers of children participating in sports on Sunday are just a few factors. Other factors include being hurt by the church, finding church irrelevant or the increase in the pace of life. Whatever the reason, it does have an impact on your children’s ministry.
And yet God made us people who need to connect. Who want to belong! Who crave Him!
People want to be a part of something that makes a difference.
Perhaps it is time to take a fresh look at your ministry. Here are some things you might want to ponder with your children’s ministry team:
- What are we doing that is compelling – worth making a priority to be there on Sunday?
- What do we have for people to participate in that clearly makes a difference?
- How can we notice and follow up when people aren’t there?
- How can we reach out in more personal ways to parents, teachers, and volunteers?
- What are the needs of the parents, teachers, and volunteers and how can you creatively address them?
It is never too late to re-evaluate what and how you are doing things. Putting energy into things that aren’t effective is a drain of resources. Why not pare down and put more effort into a few things that have a positive impact?
And when it comes to your meetings with your teachers and volunteers, here are a few things that are vital:
1. They need to feel connected
Because our culture tends to connect us in pseudo ways it takes extra effort to facilitate this. The payback is worth it. Those that feel like they belong and are a part of something significant will be more loyal. Create opportunities for people to get to know each other and discover things they might have in common. How can you cultivate that?
- Ice breaker or get-to-know you games or activities
- Create an atmosphere conducive to connecting – name tags, round tables, and food!
- Provide team activities with a purpose – practice a skill such as story-telling, discuss a topic and share back with the big group or even work together to complete a needed task. Encourage interaction. Shared experiences are bonding.
- Introduce the newest members of your crew. Highlight them in special way.
Remember that this effort to connect can’t end when the meeting is over. This culture must carry over into your working times as well!
2. They need to feel rewarded
Let’s face it – life is full. We all have plenty to do. A meeting needs to feel more like a reward than a chore! And remember not everyone will feel rewarded by the same things! Here are two ways to reward:
- Rewarding people based on love languages: Quality time, affirmation, gifts (could be food or something small), acts of service or physical touch – a hug just for coming!
- Rewarding people with personalities in mind: The fun lover wants to have a good time. The controller wants to feel like they had choices and that they were not forced to do things. The perfectionist wants clear directions and feel like they did things right. The peacemaker wants things to go smoothly – no conflict!
Your intentional efforts to reward your people in meaningful ways will not go unnoticed!
3. They need to feel equipped
Meeting for the sake of meeting – that never works! Make sure that each time you gather your teachers and volunteers you are equipping them in some way to more effectively serve on your children’s ministry team. Do they need insights on your procedures, tips on storytelling, creative ideas on classroom management, or practice sharing the gospel with children. Support comes in a variety of ways and one of them is feeling supported with proper equipping for their roles.
Do you have teachers or volunteers who are skilled in a certain area – let them pass on their knowledge.
One last thought – sometimes no matter how many changes you make to creatively address the attendance challenge there is nothing like prayer! Make praying for your parents, teachers, and volunteers a priority and see what God does!
What’s one step you can take to encourage more regular attendance? What’s worked for you?
© Can Stock Photo / stanciuc