Far too often we don’t know what we don’t know. We think we know what we are doing and we move forward, but when we look back for results – children and families with changed lives – we see our youth ministries still ended up being a “salvage ministry” because we really missed the mark in our children’s ministry. So, what can we do to keep from “missing the mark”? Consider the following –
- Regularly and consistently measure and evaluate what you are doing. Ask children every week, month or at least every quarter, what they learned and how they lived it in their everyday lives every day. If children can not answer these questions – or tell you they learned about God – then take a serious look at your curriculum. Is it written to help children remember, understand and live God’s Word? If it is not, then find a new curriculum. If it is, then get serious about training your volunteers how to utilize your curriculum so children will remember, understand and live God’s Word.
- Have you introduced parents to the curriculum you are using with their kids? Do they understand how to get the most out of your family fliers? Do they know how to build on what you taught all week at home? If they do not, then plan some focused training for parents – perhaps during adult Sunday School.
- Ask someone who isn’t involved with your children’s ministry – perhaps from a different church – to visit your children’s ministry. Ask them to observe, ask questions and then share their observations with you. You don’t know what you don’t know – and it is too easy for you to not know when you don’t know something. Get someone else who isn’t “close” to your ministry – someone who can be objective and honest and listen; really listen without becoming defensive.
- Do not make the mistake of thinking just because someone is “on your team” they have as much to offer as someone else. I was once on a CE committee where there were people who truly did not know very much about children’s ministry, but because they were on the committee, their opinions had as much “weight” as did those who knew about children’s ministry. We all may “have pieces to the puzzle”, but the pieces may not be to the same puzzle. Be sure the people who make the decisions know what they are doing.