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Does Your Church Value Children’s Ministry?

little boy

photo credit: Daniel Silliman

If asked, most church congregations would agree that children’s ministry is very important. After all if we are to have a healthy future we want to attract families, so we need good children’s programs. Perhaps more importantly though children’s ministry helps congregations fulfill their calling to pass on the faith to the next generation. It also helps us support parents as they raise their children in an increasingly secular world. Besides we really want families to come to our churches don’t we? They bring so much joy and energy into our communities. The trouble is that some church congregations say they value children’s ministry, but don’t actually make it a priority. So how can you tell if your church really values children’s ministry? Here are a few pointers

Budget.  Churches that value children’s ministry will invest in it financially.  It costs money to run a good program. Curriculum, supplies, and miscellaneous expenses need to be covered. I know too many churches where the volunteers pay for these costs out of pocket, or struggle on a shoestring budget. If we say that we value children’s ministry we will put our money where our mouth is.

  • What percentage of your churches overall budget is dedicated to children’s ministry?
  • What does that tell you?

Staffing Not many congregations in the Anglican Church of Canada have the money to pay for their children’s ministry workers, so the vast majority of our children’s ministry programs are run by volunteers. A church that values children’s ministry will actively recruit volunteers and then do everything they can to support, affirm, and encourage them.

  • Do you have trouble finding volunteers? If yes why?
  • Does the whole community get involved in recruitment, or is it left to the Sunday school superintendent?
  • Does the leadership regularly thank your volunteers and express appreciation for the work they are doing?
  • Does your church provide prayer support for your workers?

Meeting Spaces Today’s parents are looking for a safe, clean, and attractive learning areas. If children’s ministry is a priority then a church will work hard to make sure the facilities are child friendly and safe.  I know many churches have multipurpose rooms that are used for a number of activities, so that poses a challenge. Still it has been my experience that  the children’s groups are often allotted space in rooms decorated and designed for adults. I would suggest it should be the other way round. If you value children’s ministry decorate and arrange the rooms with the children in mind, then let the adults use the space when they need to meet. Inspect the rooms the rooms where your children meet.

  • Are they safe, clean, and attractive?
  • Are they designed with children’s ministry in mind?

Communication Churches that make Children’s Ministry a priority make sure they communicate this to the congregation.

  • How much airtime does your children’s ministry get in the bulletin, website, and announcements?

There is an old proverb that says, “Actions speak louder than words.” Today’s parents are looking for congregations that value children and make ministry to them a priority. How does your church community rate? What about your Diocese?

Sharon Harding

About Sharon Harding

I was born in England and immigrated to Canada almost 30 years ago. A graduate of Gloucestershire University (B.Ed.), I have been involved in children’s ministry since I was 16. Over the past 12 years I have written for a variety of Christian Education curriculum resources. I also write a blog at rediscoveredfamilies.com encouraging parents to build strong connections with their children. When I am not working I enjoy painting, reading, and pottering around the Internet.
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9 Responses to Does Your Church Value Children’s Ministry?

  1. Yes!! That’s absolutely true!

  2. Pushing us to think beyond paying lip service to this topic. Great!

  3. Your post has just given me a wonderful idea! My church puts children’s ministry at the top of the agenda. We’re a small church with very few resources, but the children are actively involved and it’s very apparent to new comers that kids are welcomed and involved. I was just finishing off the first issue of our new newsletter and wondering what to put in one remaining blank space. After reading your post, I’ve had an idea to call that blank space The Children’s Corner and to include some artwork from our last Sunday School session! Going forward, I’ll ask the children for contributions each month to their section of the newsletter! Thank you!

  4. Too bad all dioceses don’t practice this instead of spending money on certain other things.

  5. The Staffing questions reminded me of this view-from-the-trenches:
    http://asbojesus.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/955/

  6. It is amazing how building children ministry in a parish can interfere with so many other things in church. Getting people to help is really difficult. We are starting Messy Church in the parish. Everyone likes the idea, the first couple of events has been a success. Yet it is difficult for people to commit. Even once or twice a month. It says something about our stated priorities and the real thing.

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