Earlier this week, we were flooded in. The aftermath of ex-cyclone Oswald caused wide-spread flooding to a large part of south-east Queensland and although our home was high and dry, we were certainly affected. Roads were impassable, electricity was cut, phone and internet coverage was down. I had no way of contacting my family and no way of determining their safety, circumstances or needs. I was totally isolated.
If you work in children's ministry you can not function in isolation.You need to connect with others- your church families and the community, your team and a wider ministry network. You need to develop 'Relationships', the second element of our F.R.E.S.H. approach to children's ministry. Building relationships is an integral part of a thriving ministry. So.. how do you go about it? Check out these 3 areas and click through to the practical suggestions and ideas.
- Communicate often through church announcements, bulletins and flyers.
- Update the church family following a special event. (We produce a short clip of photo highlights using SmileBox or Animoto.)
- Provide information about your ministry prayer needs.
- Upload photos of lessons & crafts to your ministry Pinterest boards and Facebook page.
- Send news releases about events to the local/community newspaper.
- Provide regular newsletters to families ..see here
Don't do it alone.
- Develop teams in your ministry to share the load, to encourage and support each other.
- Take time to discover your leaders/volunteers' strengths and skills.
- Have fun! If you and your leaders are enjoying ministry, so will the kids.. and parents will notice.
- Develop a circle of key leaders for each department or group.
- Encourage key leaders to connect with those in their group.
- Encourage leaders to connect & encourage parents.
- Equip your team. Schedule training and resourcing. Try email training.. see here
- Make training fun! include inspirational content with practical hands-on skills- teach face-painting, balloon sculpture, puppetry, photography...
- Involve in other ways those who cannot be actively participating: sending birthday cards to kids, prayer, website updates, buying supplies, emailing roster reminders, painting backdrops.
- Share inspiring stories.
- Join a children's ministry network in your area. It's a great way to encourage other leaders and share skills, information & ideas
- Start one, if none exists.
- If all else fails, look at an online group.
- Connect with your senior pastor and/or church leadership. Meet once a month to share what's happening with families and ensure your ministry is in line with the direction your church is heading.
- Develop a link with other church ministries. Develop a link with youth ministry and leadership programs. Ask the seniors' group to share their skills with midweek programs. Highlight Grandparents' Day with kids and the church family.
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While every children's ministry coordinator is aware of the need to maintain good communication with their team, individuals and families, it is much harder to put this into practice. It's time-consuming- working out your content, ensuring you've included all relevant information, maintaining all your contact details. And, you want any message to be well-presented; to stand out from the sheer volume of information most people receive daily, and catch the attention of the recipient.
High Impact eMail app may be well worth investigating. This app provides quality email templates for any occasion- casual messages, newsletters, announcements, events- that are easily customised for your individual use. You can add your own images, alter template text, insert links and more.
You can also create an unlimited number of email groups straight from your iPad contacts list or add the information manually. And, you can set up your own profile with logo and contact information to be included automatically in your emails. Once you have sent your email, share it easily on Facebook and Twitter.
Check out here
for more information.
"Seagulls screech, waves crash, salty mist sprays your face. Welcome to Rocky Point Lighthouse.. where kids shine God's light!' It's a great introduction to Group's Rocky Point Lighthouse program and our kids' club theme for this term. The format of this program covers just two 21/2 hour sessions and one Sunday celebration, so we've combined this exciting theme with lessons from FaithWeaver Friends.
We promoted this upcoming program for a couple of weeks, and then held an orientation lunch following Sunday's worship service for leaders and others interested in knowing more about this program and possible involvement.
So..I decorated our lunch table in a nautical theme and set it up in a prominent area. The lunch went well and created a lot of interest. Following lunch, I handed out individual activitiy station manuals I had created with all the leader information included (printed off from the program resources CD). I highlighted some of the activitiers, crafts and features of this program...and the result? Two new leaders joined our Kids Club team!
If you're interested in the decorative media used for our lunch table, you can find the downloadable set at Bird's Party Shop. (See here..)
It includes cupcake toppers and wrappers, water bottle labels, napkin rings, mini snack boxes, party bunting, icons, straw flags, buffet labels and patterned paper.
Here at New Chapter we strive to highlight new materials, programs and resources with the potential to help you make a difference in your children's ministry. We encourage you to regularly check our website and blog to keep updated but we also list other sources that you may find helpful. Children's ministry magazines provide helpful articles and information and pinpoint trends and influences at work in the lives of children and families and in children's ministry. It's also encouraging to read and learn from other children's leaders. So you may find it interesting and worthwhile to check out Kmagazine
and their sample September/October digital issue
. Try the videos, click the links and view the photos. And, if you decide you want a subscription of your own K! today, it's just $19.95 a year. Why not take advantage of the bulk discounts and order a subscription for your leaders, too?
A recent survey of people who volunteer reports that:
*68% say it makes them physically healthier
*73% say it lowers their stress level
*92% say it enriches their sense of purpose in life!
Regardless of the positive benefits volunteering can have in others' lives, we need to ensure that we affirm and encourage those important volunteers involved in our programs and activities. Encourage and motivate your team of volunteers on a regular basis with some of these ideas from Volunteer Spot.
'Volunteers don't get paid, not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless.'
Our children's ministries would struggle without the parents and volunteers who put in endless hours to lead these groups, not because they necessarily have the time, but rather, because they have the heart for impacting these kids for Christ. But.. asking for help, making up rosters and organising lesson plans and resources can take a huge slice of your time. So, check out Volunteer Spot,
an online program to assist sports clubs, groups, organisations and faith groups that encourage volunteer involvement. There is a complimentary and premium version.
This site should make your life, and that of your volunteers, easier. Volunteer Spot allows you to invite volunteers to sign up by entering email addreses in the simple planning wizard, adding a URL link in your own message or putting a signup button on your website. The simple organiser wizard allows you to create volunteer activities, job descriptions, roster times and requests for supplies. Volunteers can select their own assignments and dates. You can even add the lesson plan for volunteers, print sign-in sheets and rosters. Volunteer Spot also sends out automated reminders to your volunteer team. Check out the video tour below to see its potential.
ORGANIZING HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER
*365 day calendar with easy planning wizard for shifts, jobs and supplies to bring
*Participants sign up with a few clicks- no registration required
*Automated email reminders
*Print sign-in sheets, calendar summaries and rosters, export data including basic hours
I hope you've had plenty of time over the Christmas holiday break to relax, unwind and have some fun. Hopefully, you've spent some time catching up on blogs, and de-cluttering your office and now you're ready to put aside 2010 and begin the challenges of a new year in children's ministry.
When you're working with children, it's easy to become caught up in the weekly momentum of lesson preparation and rosters and finding resources, knowing that the next week's deadline is always on the horizon. There's a danger that you could suddenly realise that it has been months since you and your team have thought about, or wrestled with, the details and the big picture of where you're going in children's ministry. Next Sunday is, at most, seven days away, and so our urgency can get the better of us.
As Scott McClelland (Collide magazine) puts it: 'Whatever routine you find yourself in, you must be intentional about rising above it. Block off time to re-imagine, to pull things apart and mix up the pieces. This seems like the best way to discover something new about your work, while also making sure that the things you carry over from week to week to week, project to project, are actually worth keeping. Carry over that which is best, not that which is convenient. In order to know the difference, you're going to have to rise above your routine.' Take time with your ministry team at the start of this year, and at regular intervals, to meet together and pray together while you re-examine, re-imagine and dream a little.