Recently we had a big training with all of our children and student ministry teams. The primary focus of our time together was to re-cast the vision for the importance of Lead Small (having kids and students in small groups). However, we also wanted to take the time to clarify what we do as a family ministry.
7 Things We Do As A Family Ministry
In talking about what we do as a family ministry, we connected the dots so everyone who serves can see where they fit in our strategy to lead kids and students to follow Jesus. Here are the 7 things we do in our Family Ministry Model.
We welcome kids, students, and families
There was a time when it was said that people visiting a church decided if they were going to come back in the first 10 minutes. Now, it is said that people make their minds up in just a minute or two. I don't know if that's true, but I do know I can be turned off by an experience and decide I won't come back in the first minute. We want to welcome families so we strive to create a memorable experience that exceeds expectations for kids, students, and families.
We partner with parents
Parents are the primary spiritual leaders of their kids regardless of where they are on their own faith journey. We know that a parent’s impact is far greater than our impact. Therefore, we want to leverage the time and energy we have to help parents make the most of their time.
We help kids and students celebrate God and learn about him in large group experiences
We want to teach the Bible well and teach the most important things kids and students need to know at the stage they're in. We want to repeat those teachings over time so they stick. We want to help kids and students worship God and express praise through music. We want to have FUN in a large group and help kids and students open up to what we have for them that day.
We connect kids and students in small groups
Every kid and every student needs a place to belong and a leader who believes in them (from Lead Small Culture). Every kid and every student should have a group of peers they can relate to and do life with. At our church, we want every kid from age 3 on up to be in a small group with a weekly leader and a consistent group of peers.
We challenge students to serve
Most students will not feel significant until we give them something significant to do. Most students will not feel like it is their church until they take ownership. For many of us who grew up attending church, serving may have done more to grow our faith than anything else. I believe we should not put a limit on how much responsibility and leadership a student can take as they serve in ministry. Right now, students make up 25% of our children's ministry team and we're hoping to see that percentage rise.
We create events, trips, and retreats to fast forward growth
We do events that help draw in new kids and students. We do events that help connect families and equip parents. Our family ministry has regular events to help families transition as well as celebrate milestones in their child's journey. We plan trips and retreats to help fast forward relationships between students and leaders. We also plan trips to help students serve outside of our church and outside of our country.
We provide great support and leadership for those efforts
The truth of the matter is, none of what has already been listed is possible without significant support and significant leadership. Teams of people prepare and provide resources to support large groups and small groups. Countless systems and processes are created and managed to make it all work consistently. We equip Coaches (volunteer leaders of leaders) to lead like staff and serve their team as a small group leader would.
Nick… Can you give an example of an event you do to draw new kids in?
The events that have been the best for us in terms of reaching new kids have been:
Jingle Jam – taking the Jingle Jam kit from Orange and doing it during services in elementary on a Sunday morning. So, no parents, but we push it big time as an invite and kids invite their friends.
Special Sundays – Similar to Jingle Jam, but we do fun competitions or something like that on a Sunday and the next time we point to one, kids will invite their friends.
Eggstravaganza – Tons of churches do something like this for Easter, but we just started it 3 years ago. Each year the % of new families goes up. This year it was 27%, which is much higher than most things we do.
We’re doing a big Phase Event for parents in the fall, so not kids, but we’ll be interested in seeing how many parents we get who are not a part of our church.