Trust . . . Takes Years to Build . . .

Lynda Freeman —  October 17, 2011

A friend posted this on their Facebook the other day . . .

It got me to thinking. Trust is an essential part of children’s ministry . . .

  • parents need to be able to trust us
  • children need to be able to trust us
  • our volunteers need to be able to trust us
  • we need to be able to trust our volunteers
So . . . for the next few weeks, let’s take a look at trust. Trust takes years to build . . .
How do we build trust with parents?
  • if we have not already done so, sit down and develop a child safety policy. Put in writing what you do to make your children’s ministry a safe place. Be sure to include the following – volunteer screening (background check, interview, application) – student to volunteer ratios (including minimum number of volunteers who must be present at all times when children are in the children’s ministry) – policy regarding married couples serving at the same time in the same classroom (do you require an additional unrelated adult?) – minimum age for volunteers – bathroom policy – sick child policy – sign in/pick up policy – driver policy (who can drive children on church activities, do you check their driving record?) These are just a few to get in writing. Make this information available to parents.
  • spend time with the parents – get to know them. Talk to them. Listen to them. Pray with them and for them.
  • do what you say you will do.
  • provide opportunities for parents and volunteers to build a relationship – plan socials, prayer times and anything you can do to encourage communication.
How do we build trust with children?
  • learn and remember their names. Encourage volunteers to take the time to get to know the children in their small groups/classes. tell them to take notes and do what they have to so they are able to remember the kids.
  • pay attention – notice if a child is absent, find out if they are sick, show an interest. pay attention to what is happening in and with their family – new siblings, parent’s job situation, etc. Pay attention!
  • do what you say you will do.
  • involve all children as equally as possible – don’t just have the same children always help, participate in skits, answer questions, etc.
  • listen. Listen to their questions, concerns, joys, fears and the things which make them sad.
  • Pray with and for them.
  • always follow your child safety policy – whenever you are interacting with the children in your small group/class be sue there are other adults around.
How do we build trust with the volunteers?
  • do what you say you will do.
  • listen to them.
  • pray with and for them.
  • spend time with them, building your relationship.
  • pay attention. Notice when they are going through tough times and rejoice with them in good times.
As we do these things  – especially as we build trust with our volunteers, we will find we are able to trust them, too. These things are not “quick fixes” . . . they take time, because it is true . . . trust takes years to build. Next week I’ll look at since trust can take seconds to break, what can you do to repair it?

Lynda Freeman

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Lynda has been married to Dave for 30 years . . . they met on a volcano in Northern California! Lynda took one look at Dave and thought, “We will get married!” And so they did! They have two grown children, Tiffany (26) and Dave (25), a daughter-in-law, Jackie (26) and two grandsons; Josiah (3) and the newly arrived Caleb – they are the delight of her life! Lynda lives in West Michigan and has served in children’s ministry for 40 years . . . she started with a Wednesday night class for four year olds when she was 10 . . . and has led ministries in churches with 100 people, 1600 people and several in-between. Children’s ministry is the passion of Lynda’s heart – she wants volunteers to love serving and children to love being there so they can learn to know and walk with Jesus all their lives! Lynda worked as a consultant for Gospel Light, Group and Zonderkidz/Big Idea/Willow Creek and worked as the Church Resource Consultant for Kregel Bookstores for 13 years providing training and answering questions for churches throughout West Michigan. She has written for Children’s Ministry Magazine and Your Church Magazine, wrote some of the preschool lessons for Big Idea’s VeggieConnections curriculum, was a contributing author for Group’s Humongous Book of Bible Skits for Children’s Ministry and wrote the Connections to Christ portion of the Manners that Matter curriculum from Maralee McKee. Eight years ago Lynda was diagnosed with MS, Lupus and a few other auto-immune illnesses and can no longer work “hands-on” with children . . . the stairs at her church are best avoided. However, Lynda consults with and advises her church and writes their curriculum, kidz Connection. She also writes a blog – About the Children’s Department - and is developing a series of children’s books and a resource on praying the Scripture! For fun, Lynda writes a blog for grandmas- grandma’s cookie jar ( ) . . . well, grandpas, moms and dads are welcome to read it, too! You will find her on Twitter, Facebook and CM Connect .

One response to Trust . . . Takes Years to Build . . .

  1. Especially with parents, I totally agree about the importance of conversation / dialogue. It says that we care, plus can give us valuable insight. Great post!