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The Nuts and Bolts of Children's Ministry

What does it take to build a growing, thriving children's ministry?

If you look under the hood, what are the nuts and bolts that cause a children's ministry to flourish?

If we were sitting down for a cup of coffee and talking about this, here is what I would say.

A strong volunteer team.

Everything rises and falls on the strength of your volunteer team. First and foremost, our job as children's ministry leaders is to enlist and equip team members for ministry.

Get this going and everything else will fall in place.

I often quote Walt Disney's thoughts about building a strong team. He said these words right before he opened Disneyland.

You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality. -Walt Disney

You can get lots of great help in building a volunteer team with my book "The Formula for Building a Great Volunteer Teams." It is available at this link.

A clear pathway for salvation and baptism.

The most important thing we do as children's ministers is to lead kids and parents to Christ. We want to introduce as many people to Christ as we can.

An effective way to do this is to have a clear pathway for salvation and baptism. This means you provide clear next steps.

For me, after trying different methods, I have found that the best way to do this is through milestone classes. Have a salvation class and a baptism class for kids who are expressing an interest in taking a next step. The next step would be the salvation class. Parents must attend with their child. Once the child has made a clear salvation decision, the next step is to invite them to the baptism class. If you will also have parents attend this class with their child, you will see many parents get baptized as well.

Here is the link for the salvation and baptism class that is being used in churches across the country with great success.

Leadership. Just like every other ministry, everything rises and falls on leadership. Show me a thriving children's ministry and behind the scenes is great leadership. Leadership that connects with and motivates everyone from student ministry volunteers to senior adults who serve. Here's a great book to help you grow as a children's ministry leader.

Vision. A key component of children's ministry is a compelling vision. As children's ministry leaders, it is crucial that we know how to cast vision and sustain it. This starts with developing a strategic vision statement that the people on your team embrace.

Discipleship strategy. There is a clear discipleship pathway that kids can follow. Key steps are in place to help kids grow in their faith.

The strategy is tied closely to where you want kids to be when they leave your ministry. What do you want them to know from God's Word? What kind of person do you want them to be? What do you want them to believe?

These type of questions can lead you to implementing curriculum that follows the pathway you want to take kids down.

The Connect 12 curriculum does just that. It takes kids on a 12 month journey from salvation all the way to spiritual leadership. Check it out here.

Parent strategy. An effective children's ministry knows that parents are the greatest influence in a child's life and so they seek to partner with parents. They are always looking for ways to involve parents, support parents and place tools in their hands they can use to disciple their children.

One of the most impactful ways to do this is through family milestones. These are key times when parents are wide open to your parent strategy and will engage with you at a whole new level. You can read more about family milestones at this link.

Your turn. What other nuts and bolts are an important part of kid's ministry? Share your thoughts and insight in the comment section below.


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