Brandon Cox, Lead Pastor of Grace Hills Church in northwest Arkansas and editor for Rick Warren’s Pastor’s Toolbox, put out a blog last year about “How to Build Rhythm Into Your Church”. I read it twice when it first came out. Then I printed it. I have read it over and over since then. I have gone to it at the beginning of every planning season: January for Summer, April for Fall, August for January. The article speaks to the whole church, but it can relate specifically to finding a rhythm in Children’s Ministry.
When I was hired full time, it was much easier to just throw myself into all that we could offer: typical Sunday and midweek programming and special events just about every month, sometimes every other week. Trying new things happened often. But hired part-time requires a rhythm.
When church leadership sets a position as Sunday only, 1/4 time, 1/3 time, or 3/4 time, there are some expectations they have determined. One expectation being that this person can not do everything the larger church down the street can do. Setting priorities offers a realistic rhythm.
Pastor Cox remarks that “balance is an elusive target” because balance is based on a subjective perspective: whoever you are asking. But a rhythm, being measurable, is much more manageable when the goal is healthy Children’s Ministry.
If we use the five purposes/goals of healthy Children’s Ministry, worship-growth-belonging-service-share/testimony, and the entire calendar year as the canvas, finding a rhythm works to develop a filter.
He first suggests focusing on 5-6 peak moments in the year. That’s for a full-time KidMin Director. We know that for excellent regular programming, it takes an average of 2.5 hours for every 1 hour of programming. Any special event or peak moment requires a whole lot more. Think VBS: 4-5 months+whole lot of lay servants+$$=10 – 15 hours of programming. That may explain why so many churches are stepping away from offering a week of VBS and looking for more bang for their buck. Perhaps offering a summer VBS program over a summer of Sundays and promoting the daylights out of it.
Even part time (half-time = 20 hour) KidMin Directors can effectively and realistically take on weekly Sunday am, Sunday pm OR Wednesday/Midweek pm, and 4-5 peak moments through the year, if you include Christmas and Easter. Then you are working on 1 peak moment quarterly and that is much more manageable.
Each year our Children’s Council writes on individual index cards everything involving ministry with children over the course of the year. All traditions and even new things: Trunk-or-Treat, Sunday School, CLUB345, Children’s Christmas program, etc. As a team, they then determine what 4 items are the most important: asking, “If we did nothing but these 4 things next year, what would they be?” Once we haggle…er, decide which 4 (which takes a bit of time), we then choose 2 more (which takes no time, because the discussions have already taken place.) As a Council, we have now chosen what we will throw ourselves into. Where and when will we be ‘all in’, for the next year. Of course, other special events take place over the course of the year, but there must be two champions for those special events where I can serve as the resource, cheerleader, and/or promoter for those things. But me ‘taking the point’ on them has now been decided by the Children’s Council to not be a priority for me this next year.
So where will you throw your resources, your servants, your finances, your space, your over-the-top-best?
“Everything is permissible” – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible – but not everything is constructive.” – 1 Corinthians 10:23