When I was a kid, I didn’t really think about school much all summer.
My time was occupied with sprinklers, baseball, and ice cream.
I assumed my teachers didn’t think about school either.
Only when I was older that I realized that teachers actually began planning for school months ahead of our return in September. Classroom decorations, lesson plans, and curriculum decision. All been though about long before I ever showed up.
Their planning helped make my first day feel great.
If you’re at KidMin leader, congrats.
You’ve made it to summer.
But you also know that September is looming.
As you’re planning the nitty-gritty stuff, there are also a few important conversations you might want to have. These conversations will help the onramp feel seamless for your students and give you a easy re-entry into your KidMin year.
1. Talk With Church Leadership
Your pastor has a vision for your church. Hopefully it’s one that your entire church can get behind and run with. Even if it’s not exactly what you’d like to see point-by-point, having a discussion at a leadership level is essential for any healthy children’s ministry. Here are a few questions to bring up at the next staff meeting (even if it’s just you and your pastor):
- What would you like to see from our KidMin this year?
- How can we get leaders from other ministries involved / aware?
- What does “a win” look for our children’s ministry?
- What’s our budget? (leave space for this conversation )
- What are you expecting of me this year?
2. Talk With Your Students
Your students are most overlooked place to gather feedback on your ministry. A few questions that might bring some honest (even if hard to hear) insight into your ministry choices:
- What do you like about Sunday school (Awana, Wednesdays, whatever)?
- What is your favorite part about church?
- How can we make our church better for kids?
- Would you like it if your friends came to church? Why? Why not?
- What you like about your leaders?
- Do you like to come to church? How come?
3. Talk With Parents
In many ways, parents are the ones who have the most unique perspective on your ministry. Here’s why: They’re not in on the planning. They’re not partial to budgetary constraints. They’re not motivated by anything other than how their kids respond to what’s going on.
While many KidMin leaders might scoff at that reality – writing it off as detached disinterest – take the high road. Learn to view parents and benevolent pragmatists: always looking for the end product (“does my son or daughter like going to church?”) and hoping the for the best.
I know it’s not all roses and sunshine when KidMin leaders engage parents, but I think the part of the tension is because parents are rarely asked.
4. Talk With Your Leaders
Other leaders in your church will give insight into how your decisions effect “where the rubber meets the road.” It’s vitally important that you get their thoughts.
A word of caution: If you’ve done your job to create an atmosphere that allows for honest feedback, buckle up. You might not like what you hear. You might get hugs and thanks, but you’ll also get negative opinions that would have otherwise gone unexpressed. Take heart – you’ve done your job by asking.
Support from other leaders is earned: Ask for their feedback and you’ll get their support. Don’t bother asking, and don’t be surprised when their support eludes you.
Here’s to a great year!
Plan away, friends!