Our B2S Sunday is a special event for families with a focus, naturally, on school but we also take the opportunity to highlight the support and midweek programs that our church family offers kids and families.
This year we will be giving out small stationery packs to each child and we've used the idea from Family Crafts (see here) to create mini backpacks from coloured paperbags to hold the stationery. They are easily made with a backpack print-off attached to the front and ribbon straps attached for handles.
We added in some bookmarks, and you could add your church contact details to the back of each before laminating them. For a bit of fun, we also added some packs of 'bookworms'. You can find the file for these below. It's a perfect time, too, to include information about upcoming events.
And... finish with a Back2School cupcake... see here
The start of a new year brings its own excitement and challenges: the anticipation of seeing anew God working in the lives of children, families and volunteers, with new ideas and exciting programs to launch and new opportunities to glimpse the wonder of little ones learning about our great and loving God. But, there are also the difficulties of working in a ministry area that is time and labour intensive, the ever-present admin tasks, the danger of becoming over-stressed, exhausted, of feeling over-whelmed and left gasping for air.
This year, start with a F.R.E.S.H. approach to your children's ministry. Over the next few posts, I'll highlight five aspects of your ministry and provide you with some practical strategies. Establishing some simple but sustaining tools will equip you to handle the pressures and demands of ministry. Finally, in conclusion to this series of posts, I hope to complete and provide you with some practical worksheets to assist in your planning and organisation. But first.....
1. FOCUS. Make sure that you begin this year with a clear and concrete understanding of both your role and your vision. Many children's ministry directors or coordinators find themselves in a role that has developed apace with their growing ministry. Now, while this is understandable, there are clearly some concerns here. A children's ministry director may discover that there are unspoken expectations of them that are beyond their capabilities in both time and resources. A job description is a necessity. If you don't have one, ask for one and if you have one, read it carefully and ask for clarification if you're at all uncertain about any aspects of your role. A job description ensures that both you and the church leadership are clear about your role and your responsibilities. It also means that you can sensibly plan and structure your time and commitments in alignment with your role.
Your job description will probably begin with a definition similar to the following: 'The Children's Ministry director/coordinator is responsible for overseeing all aspects of a growing children’s ministry and to ensure a smooth operating, safe and effective program. The director will recruit and train leaders and teachers who will touch children’s lives with God’s love and teach them God’s Word while laying a spiritual foundation for their relationship with Christ and teaching them to serve within the church. The director will also be a spiritual leader to those working in this ministry and provide training and encouragement to parents, equipping them to be the primary spiritual leader of their children.' It can seem a little daunting, but don't panic. Following this, you should find a list of practical expectations. Read it all carefully as this will provide you with helpful assistance in your planning and preparation. It provides you with the information you need to determine your specific areas of responsibility for children, families, volunteers and wider church family.
But you also need to focus on your ministry vision. Do you have one? Is it clear to everyone? Is it included in all your ministry materials? Your ministry vision provides a yardstick for current and future ministry programs and outreach? Are these in alignment with our vision and focus? Then, they can be grow and developed. If not, it may be something that other ministry leaders would like to pursue. Do your leaders and volunteers know and share the ministry vision? Do your volunteers and leaders have a strong sense of purpose and direction? Not sure? Take this quiz from Children's Ministry to find out. Here...
Then, take some time to read further:
* Children's Ministry that Works! The basics and beyond. Group
Overflowing with expert insights from ministry leaders.
* Piece by Piece- Unlocking the puzzle for an effective ministry to today's children. Tammy Tolman
Includes study questions and action steps
* Making your Children's Ministry the Best Hour of Every Week. Sue Miller with David Staal
Insights that can reshape your whole approach to children's ministry and cast a new vision for everyone involved.
Schools and children around the world resume at different times and dates. Some enjoy a summer holiday; others have a couple of weeks off after each semester or term.
But, whatever the date, it's always a big deal when they have to return to school. For many, it's also an intimidating time especially if they struggle with school friends or school work.
Here are some Back2School ideas that everyone should enjoy. If you're planning to present a special event, you might find some of these ideas and resources helpful.
Welcome Back Pack
Buy inexpensive backpacks or totes and fill them up with goodies. Burn CDs with new kids’ church music or video of a recent, fun service. Add some hard candy, pencils, erasers and inexpensive Bible coloring books. Prepare enough for every child. Notify the kids by mail that in order to get their ‘welcome back packs’ they will need to attend on a specified date. (from ministry-to-children)
Pencil Sweep Relay
Form teams of four or more. Designate a goal area at one end of the room. Have teams line up at the other end of the room. Then give each team a pencil and a broom. The first person on each team sweeps the pencil to the goal and back. The next person in line does the same thing until everyone on the team has had a turn.(from Children's Ministry )
Extra Fun by the Numbers: have some age-specific games for the kids. For instance, for those going into third grade, have kids run a three-legged relay. For fourth graders, have them try to balance four eggs on spoons in their mouths.. and maybe run the length of the room.
Letter Hunt for the younger grades, put flashcards on sticks )giant paint stirrers would work well) in the yard and assign each kids 4-5 letters to find. First one done wins. (See here)
Back to School bulletin board idea.. see
Back to School colouring pages
Use these printable pages as discussion starters with your kids. (more..)
Here are a few ideas to help start a conversation about trusting God as a new school year begins.
Back to School party ideas.. see
Back to School ideas both free and at a small cost:
puzzles, word searches, colouring in pages, Back to School skit, games and more..