“Two are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
-Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT
One of the best ways to insure that your kids will not fall away during their teen years is to help them make friends at church.
This is so important. If kids do not make friends at church during the grade school years then they will not make the jump to youth ministry. The reason for this is that teenagers want to hang with their friends. If they don’t have friends at church they won’t hang out at church.
You cannot choose their friends for them, but you can create environments that will help them make friends. I do this in three ways.
1) Small groups for kids. One of the hardest decisions I ever made was to take 30 minutes out of my preaching for small group ministry. The primary reason I did this was I noticed the bigger the church got the less connected the kids were. The glue that holds the church together is the love we have for one another.
2) Create opportunities for kids to serve in ministry. When kids get involved in a ministry they are spending time with other kids who love the Lord. The payback that these kids get is the lifelong relationships they develop at worship rehearsal and drama practice.
3) Plan social activities for families. I plan one social activity per month. Most of these are not drop off events but opportunities where families can hang together. Here is a list of the activities I have done:
- Sledding party – January
- Lock IN – February
- Roller Skating Party – March
- Easter Egg Hunt – April
- Gym and Swim night at YMCA – May
- Vacation Family Adventure – June
- World’s Largest Squirt Gun Fight – July
- Summer Camp – July
- Zoo Trip – August
- 100 Foot Largest Banana Split – September
- Hay Ride and Apple Orchard – October
- Halloween Alternative – November
- Christmas Party and Gift Exchange – December
What types of things do you do to help kids make friends at church?