There is a wide array of churches out there that will probably suit your personal needs. But what about the children’s ministry? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that any children’s ministry will do. After all, they are just kids. How important can it be? VERY!
Here are some things to consider when looking at a children’s ministry…
- Curriculum–You can figure out exactly what kinds of things your kids will be learning about (or not). Some children’s ministry curriculums provide take-home activities or sheets, or even internet resources, for the parents–added bonus!
- Schedule–You may not need or want to know every second of what’s going on, but if they can’t give you a general idea, there probably isn’t much of anything going on–and kids need some structure. And if worship is something you want to instill in the kids, you may want to make sure they are singing as well. (Not just someone standing up front doing a few motions and not making a joyful noise!)
- How Children are Divided into Classes–If you aren’t comfortable with your baby being in with walkers and over-zealous toddlers, you need to know that they will be in different classes. If sending your kindergartener into a group with 5th graders makes you nervous, you need to know how that is going to work too. But be sure to ask, as sometimes looks can be deceiving and they may only spend a few minutes together.
- Leaders–Make sure that there are background checks for the workers in the ministry. Most churches tout that they provide a safe atmosphere. If they don’t do background checks, RUN! (This is the very least they can do.) Meet the teachers and see if they are friendly to you and the kids. Also check out and see how often they teach–weekly, monthly, etc. It may make all the difference in how long it takes children to get comfortable and develop relationships.
- Extras–It’s really hard to get to know people when you only see them once a week on Sunday morning. So what kind of extra programs does the children’s ministry offer? Do they have mid week programs or do they include the kids in adult Bible studies throughout the week? Are there extra celebrations throughout the year? VBS or Backyard Bible Clubs? Baptism Classes? I church doesn’t have to have a ton of programs to be great, but what are YOU looking for?
So how do you find all this out?
Ask. Be nosy. Be “that” parent. Ask questions when checking kids in for the first time, but understand that there is a lot going on Sunday morning or Saturday night, so get there early (though it is SO hard to do with littles!) or, even better, email or call them before you go. It will help you get a feel for whether or not that’s where you want to spend the only shot you’ve got for checking out a church this week. If they send a friendly response, yay! If it’s a form letter, or no answer, it may not be the place for you.
If we are involved in the church our kids are going to spend a lot of time there, make friends there, and hopefully come to love God there. Don’t chance it to just any old kids ministry.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.” Psalm 127:3-4
If children are such a blessing to us, shouldn’t we treat them as such and want the best for them..even in their children’s ministry? It’s our job to take care of them and make sure they get the best.
What else do you look for when you are checking out a children’s ministry?