I like to start each year with a clean slate. Which for me means organizing the mess I ended the previous year with. I like to think I’m pretty organized, but with the craziness of managing a family, two ministries, and a small business my organizational abilities can sometimes get lost. If you need some tips for organizing your children’s ministry this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
First things first! Make sure all the children involved in your children’s ministry are registered and the information is up to date. Larger churches tend to have automated child check-in services for this kind of stuff, which makes it a lot easier.
If you are looking into something like this for your church, here are a few Child Check In Services:
KidCheck -a great child check in service that will help you keep your children safe and stay up-to-date on child and family information.
Planning Center Online -They offer a huge program that works solely as a child-check in service, or as a tool to organize every ministry in your church.
KidMinApp – This program is easy to use and will help keep the kids in your ministry safe, track attendance & birthdays, and follow up with kids that are slipping away!
Are you from a small church? Don’t overlook the child registration/ check-in process. I’m from a smaller church, and it’s so easy sometimes to think why do I need a child check in or registration procedure. I know everyone, their families, their children, etc. Well, we are trusted to care for and protect those children. It’s the same reason I have my volunteers do background checks. Even though I may know everyone, having those procedures in place can protect your children and ministries as your church grows.
Here are three ways to make child check in work at a small church:
Require registration for each child. This can include Name, Age, Birthdate, Parents/Guardians, Contact Info, emergency Medical Info, and I like to include a question to the parents about whether they can help in children’s ministry.
Take Attendance. It’s really helpful when you want to be able to follow up with a child and their family. Maybe they have been missing for a few weeks or to see what visitors have been coming more often.
Child Check in and Pick up. Always make sure that you require parents to check in and check out their Preschool and Younger children. But really consider have parents pick up their kids all the way up through second grade. Each church runs differently. In our church, the older children come right up from downstairs to the parents who are upstairs. Although, we would definitely hold the kids until the parents picked them up if the parents were located in a different section of the building. Find out what works best for you.
Like I said, we require background checks on our volunteers. Each year I check to make sure the information I have on the volunteers is up to date. Even though we are a small church, it seems keeping contact information up to date and available is not always easy. Keeping up with the tech world is hard when you don’t have a lot of tech.
Have a look over the information and update when necessary. Have people left the children’s ministry? Make sure to take them off your email list, etc. Are there new people that want to get involved? Because this is a great time to ask. Update schedule preferences for your volunteers. Able to do once a month? twice, etc.?
Create a vision for the new year and plan to implement that vision! Start with volunteer training. Part of this should include working with kids, but don’t neglect fanning their spark into a flame. Inspire them in their personal walk with God, and in God’s heart for children. If you start here you can’t fail.
Decide on how often you will do trainings. Once a quarter, every other month, once a month, etc?
How will you implement trainings? Meetings, workshops, conferences, online, etc? There are many possibilities, so find what works and go with it.
Get everyone on the same page. Discipline policy? Lesson Format? Procedures? Make sure to keep everyone informed.
I know the power of prayer, and so I want it in every part of my life. Children’s Ministry should begin with prayer. Pray for vision, pray for creative ideas, pray for wisdom, pray for volunteers, and pray for the children and their families.
Even at a smaller church this can become a bit daunting, especially if you want to pray over each child individually. How do you find time for this?
Covering everyone in Prayer
In the past we’ve done different things:
Shepherding Program– This was introduced to the congregation and we encouraged our prayer warriors to sign up to shepherd a child. This required them to have one or two children assigned to their prayer lists. They would be informed of the child’s birthday, mailing address, family needs, and any special prayer requests. The shepherd would keep them in prayer and send them encouraging notes or birthday cards in the mail. This was a fun way to cover the kids in prayer and keep the kids and their families connected with the body of Christ.
Leaders Prayer Journal- I have implemented this in different ways in the past. This year I’m offering you some of these sheets for FREE to help you start praying over the kids in your ministry. First, have each child fill out a Getting To Know You sheet.This sheet is placed in my prayer binder so I can remember details about each child and get to know them better.
Next, have a monthly prayer calendar. This helps me write down the child I prayed for each day, so I can make sure to get to all the children each month. (For a larger church I would have more than one person doing this, based on the amount of kids)
Finally, use these Individual Prayer Sheets to write down what you've been praying for each child, praises to answered prayers, and even prophetic words you receive from the Lord for that child.
Place the prayer sheets behind the Getting to know you page in your prayer journal. Continue to add pages to the journal as you pray over the kids throughout the year.
Praying for more…
I hope you find these resources useful as you begin to organize your children’s ministry for the new year. I’m praying for an awakening in our children like never before and that they would grow in their prayer life. I want to see our children begin to come alive by the Holy Spirit working in them. Because this is the year where our kids will begin to discover what fellowship with God really looks like.