Inviting 4th and 5th graders to take on leadership tasks is exciting. For them and for me. Training young people to serve and giving them regular practice opportunities builds a culture of service and education. The first Ambassador Class included an invite to all 5th graders and a few 4th graders I knew were ready for the challenge. This year I sent personal invites with follow up emails to all 4th graders and 5th graders and let them make the choice. The first class were all girls. This second class included boys who have since been showing up early on Sunday mornings to take on the setup tasks and they aren’t even scheduled. These students are ready to put their faith into action and I am thrilled to let them know their home church is putting its faith in them to begin taking on places of leadership. The following blog appeared in the fall of 2017 giving all the details. This year we added Tech Ninja training for the sound booth. What else would you add to your Ambassador Team?
Got the small group of kids who are ready for more? Faithful to Sunday school attendance, but talk about more? Those who take on more than the bare minimums and their families are all-in…would even venture to say some of their parents might even have keys to the building? That’s why we started the Ambassadors.
My bucket of responsibility is Kindergarten through 5th grade. Preparing beautiful postcard invitations from vistaprint.com, invitations were sent to all fifth graders on the rolls. Since I observed leadership skills in some fourth graders in Sunday school, specific invites went to them, as well.
This was the plan:
5-5:30pm Pizza & Chat Dinner (some parents have quite a commute, so we allowed for traffic time)
Visual Faith Project images: Choose an image that represents a part of your life (a representative) and discussed during Pizza & Chat
“We are Christ’s ambassadors.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
5:30-6:30pm Welcome, Prayer, Game
What is an Ambassador?
Tour of the Children’s Ministry space; tech booth & kiosk training; fill-in-the-blank worksheet; respond on a large post it note
Ambassador – one of the best positions to meet new people and have fun; grow our communication skills (helps you get your ideas heard); leadership) … ambassador…representative…an example…aka a person chosen or appointed to act or speak for another
Tour and walk through the Sunday Morning Setup – carts, check-in kiosks, water, cups, snack, supplies, all classrooms, tech booth, storage, greeting practice
A – Arrive 30 minutes early to assignments (plenty of time to be ready)
M – Mature/Can be trusted (dependable, punctual, enthusiastic without craziness, positive attitude/no complaining)
B – Bible readers (we pour out what we take in; are you reading your Bible regularly and attending weekly Sunday school?)
A – Assist those in our area in a spirit of hospitality (kindness to a stranger) (Hi!, offers hand outs at end of services)
S – Smile (let’s others know you want to be here; makes the best impression on guests and those having a hard time)
S – Set up on Sundays, Tour of the Nativities, special events, weekly guest greeters
A – Assist in the K5 & 1st grade Sunday school classrooms and special events as needed
D – Dress appropriately for the event (flip flops; awards ceremony/representatives; brush your teeth, gum chewing; sneakers; clean)
O – Open the doors…of conversation, of encouragement, and the real doors, too.
R – Respond quickly with kindness; be aware of your surroundings and others
Roles for Ambassadors 1. Partner with kid guests (weekly)
2. Tour of the Nativities (tour guide)
3. Greet & serve new guests and at special events and weekly
4. Set up on Sunday mornings (weekly rotation)
5. Assist in K5 & 1st grade Sunday school (as needed)
The students were asked to consider if they wished to take on such responsibilities at the end of the orientation. If so, they were invited to write their names on the large post-it-note on the wall. They were eager and asked good questions. “Do we have to smile the whole time? My mouth might start to hurt.” (Man! I love these kids!)
The first Sunday following the Ambassador Orientation, many of the Sunday morning tasks were taken on by the Ambassadors without my even knowing it until I saw certain things already taken care of throughout the morning. Leadership opportunities are part of what every student should be able to experience in their home/local church. Jesus believes in them and I want them to know that their church family believes in them, too.
“Building the habit of service at a young age tends to alter the attitudes and expectations of young people, resulting in a lifelong practice of helping others. The younger we instill such a mind-set and lifestyle, the more ingrained they become.” George Barna from Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions: Why Children Should Be Your Church’s #1 Priority, page 74