Watch Me Now

Wendy Douglas —  October 25, 2011 — 1 Comment

 

One of the opportunities to serve in Children’s Ministry is as a small group leader. Once a person has observed a service and decided that they would like to lead a small group, the first step is to become an apprentice.

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imageIn May of 2010, a valuable new resource was made available to the children’s ministry community called, “What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry?”  Designed to spark conversations and get people thinking, the free book did just that.  The original team has gotten back together and recently released the second installment in the series entitled:

What Matters Now In Children’s Ministry – Early Childhood Edition

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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.

One of the workshops I attended at the KidMin Conference was Working with Parents: What They Do and Don’t Need from Us with Gina McClain. One of the things she shared has me thinking a lot about family time. She suggested that rather than giving parents something else to do during family time, we should be encouraging and helping them enhance what they are already doing with their families.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Tuck In Time –  Most parents with younger children are tucking them in at night as part of a bedtime routine. This is an opportunity to suggest a book to read at bedtime along with questions to go with that book. A worship song could also be added to the routine. It is also a time to encourage parents to pray with and for their children.
  • Dinner Time – Gina shared that statistically children who have family dinner three times a week do better educationally than those who don’t. She asked if then wouldn’t that be true spiritually as well. We could give parents suggestions on topics for discussions during this time by giving them a box with question/scripture cards that would prompt conversation.
  • Drive Time – Most parents spend a significant time in the car with their children driving to school, the store, practices, games, and recitals. This is an opportunity to provide conversation starters as well. Maybe in the form of a card that could hang on the rear view mirror or on the dashboard.
  • Movie Time – Rather than schedule a movie night at the church, we could provide everything needed to have movie nights for families in their homes. We could suggest a movie to watch along with discussion questions for parents.

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imageIt’s been almost two months since the last time I posted an article in our series on what your volunteers want you to know but might not be telling you.  Last time, we finished up in the category of “Passion.”  So far we’ve covered,

PASSION

  1. Your Volunteers Are Passionate About What They Do!
  2. Your Volunteers Want You To Use Their Passion!
  3. Share Your Vision With Your Volunteers
  4. Give Your Volunteers Autonomy
  5. Volunteers Need The Opportunity for Advancement

Today, we begin a whole new category of things your volunteers want you to know but might not be willing to tell you.  Today, we start talking about SERVICE.

Your volunteers sincerely desire to help you help God’s kids. In order to do that though, they need some things from you, and many volunteers may be unwilling to come right out and ask for these things.  This week, will want to look at:

TRUST IN YOUR VOLUNTEERS!!!

It is imperative that you find a way to trust the people you have working for you.  Your volunteers are there to help you out.  If you don’t trust them, you’ll never be willing to turn parts of your ministry over to them. And, if you can’t turn parts of your ministry over to other people, it will never grow beyond what you are capable of accomplishing all by yourself.  In other words, if you can’t trust you volunteers, you are dooming your ministry to be a one-man show.

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Preschoolers love play-dough. Here is an easy recipe to make homemade play-dough for them to enjoy and creatively mold ideas from the Bible lessons taught in class.

Play-dough allows preschoolers to exercise their fingers for pre-writing skills and fine motor activities. It is great for creativity and allowing preschoolers to make and see objects from lessons and stories.

* Warning: Be careful of allergies and sensitivities. Some young children have difficulty and are sensitive to flour.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • Optional: add a few drops of food coloring and/or scent

Allow the children to help mix the ingredients with the exception of the boiling water. Once the water is poured in and stirred around a bit then it will have cooled off enough for them to mix the entire amount.

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In the past two weeks I posted articles explaining that as children understand how obedience is lived in their everyday lives, they’ll see worship as the natural outflow of obedience and a major part of their everyday lives and talked about Able, Seth and Noah and how they were obedient real worshipers! I also posted about Caleb and Josiah and how they are just two examples of Bible people who chose to worship God by giving their all to God! This is a major part of worship!  In fact, if we do not give our all to God, we can’t worship Him. 

Today I want us to consider along with worshiping by obeying, giving our all and music, we worship God by loving others. We do not have to look any farther than at what Jesus said and modeled for us to see how essential loving others is if we are going to be real worshipers of God! In Mark 12 one of the teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Which is the most important of all the commandments?” Jesus said . . .  Continue Reading…

imageIt has become a bit of a tradition here on Kidmin1124 that we create pages for you to track all the latest tweets from major children’s ministry conferences. We missed D6 a couple of weeks ago, but we’re please to announce that we have created pages for two conferences both going on right now (or starting soon).  Make sure to check out the pages for:

Kidmin Conference 2011

and

Catalyst 2011

Our own Wendy Douglas is at the Kidmin Conference and Barbara Graves is attending the Catalyst Conference.  If you’re at either, make sure to look them up – you won’t regret it!

In case you misplace this post, you can always click on the links at the top of Kidmin1124. Happy tweet watching!

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imageA while back, Matt Guevara, Amy Dolan and Henry Zonio formulated an idea.  It was an idea that had leaders in the field of children’s ministry come together and share the one word which they felt mattered the most in children’s ministry.  These one words, coupled with a brief explanation of each, became the free e-book What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry.

It is a book which served as a spark to ignite many a conversation.  I covered the book extensively on Dad in the Middle offering my thoughts on many of the authors’ submissions.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: We would like to welcome Joey Espinosa to the Kidmin1124 team.  We are certain that you will find his contributions to be useful and illuminating.  Please take a second to welcome Joey by commenting on this article below.

I work in an after school program with two other people (all of us part-time) and a handful of volunteers. As with most ministries, we are highly dependent on our volunteers to have an impact on the children who come and who want to come.  In fact, we currently have a waiting list due to an insufficient amount of leaders.

Recently, in a discussion about volunteers in our program, someone told me that we need to treat all volunteers the same. According to this logic, because all volunteers give something, they are equally valuable, and should be given parallel responsibilities and privileges.

I disagree!

Volunteers do have equal value, but that’s because value is intrinsically from the God who created us and saved us.

But volunteers are also different. They have:

  • Different strengths,
  • Different levels of responsibility, and
  • Different rewards.

Therefore, they should not all be treated the same.

Different Strengths

Volunteers with unique skills, experiences, and passions should contribute in specific ways. The failure to recognize and act on this principle is one of the biggest mistakes a leader can make. It’s one way that I erred for years in ministry. I would see a need and then look for any warm body to fill it.

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