My very first step into Children’s Ministry was teaching a class in our Wednesday night girl’s program. Our church ran complete programming for elementary-aged boys and girls during the mid-week adult Bible study. I loved those classes. They were amazing small group times that developed relationships and were a great venue for discipling children. It was what every church did. It was all we knew at the time.
Evaluating it’s effectiveness was fairly easy. You just looked at the wall chart and saw who had stickers all across their line, and who didn’t. Typically, 20% of the class had earned every badge and corresponding sticker for the year. Another 40% had earned about half the stickers, and the remaining 40% only had 1 or 2 of the 12 from the year. 40% were not being served by this system.
The program had all the potential to be an effective, Orange collaboration between the church and the family. The church provided the initial teaching, fun activities to reinforce the lessons, and a notebook for parents to see what “requirements” their child needed to complete at home. It seemed perfect. Everything they would need. But many didn’t do them. Why? I can see 3 areas that failed to make the Orange connection:
1. Perhaps the requirements were just too much like more homework. Parents were all ready tired of the daily struggles to have their children complete their homework from school. The thought of having to get out another book, read more instructions, and complete another assignment was just too much.
2. Perhaps the reason it seemed like too much was that the parents never were sold on the the value of the program. It was convenient, Bible-based child care that allowed the adults to attend Bible study on Wednesday nights. Parents agreed that it was a good thing, just not something that merited their attention outside of the service time. They never were shown how adding their “red” perspective on these lessons would help that lesson stick with their child.
3. Perhaps the lack of communication made the programing seem more of a chore than a partnership. Other than the quick greeting when a child was dropped off or picked up, there was very little verbal communication with the parents. Though parents were appreciative that we “kept” their children during service, we didn’t really know them well. There wasn’t provision to develop relationships with the parents during the course of the class. Parents only attended quarterly awards ceremonies, ate cookies, took pictures, and went home. It definitely wasn’t a partnership. There was never a feeling of we are in this together.
So, can those issues be changed? I believe they can. It takes a personal touch. Sometimes you need to go beyond the book. The potential for young lives to be grounded firmly in the Word is there. We just have to find a way to communicate with the parents so that they understand the benefit to their children’s spiritual development, and present the materials in a way that they will enjoy doing them.
Make sure to check out the other participating blogs in Orange Week:
Just a reminder, we are giving away three free copies of a new family tool called Cue Box. Here is how we are doing it. The purpose of Kidmin1124.com is to spark conversation and discussion. So, we’re going to offer two different ways to enter to win one of the Cue Boxes. First, leave a comment on any of the Orange Week posts through October 5. Tell us about your experience with Orange, comment on something raised in an article, or just come right out and tell us that you’re commenting because you want to win a cue box. For every comment or reply, we will enter you in the drawing. Also, we’re trying to get the word out if you tweet or retweet any of the articles on Twitter from this series, we will enter your name in the drawing once for each tweet. Just make sure to include @Kidmin1124 in the tweet somewhere so we can find it. The more you comment, and the more you tweet, the greater your chances of winning. We will close the contest on Sunday, October 10, 2010 and draw our winners on October 11.