For ministries to children and teens to be as effective as possible, you need the full support of church leaders. Unfortunately in many churches the leaders often think they are more supportive than they actually are. There are a lot of reasons for this, but switching the dynamic will require helping them actually feel ”ownership” for the souls of those precious little ones. That requires knowing them better than most church leaders do. Once they know a child well enough to love him or her dearly, it is easier for them to be truly passionate about helping all of them get to Heaven.
The problem is that most church leaders are super busy. They don’t want to teach a Bible class or make any other long term volunteer commitment. So what are some ways to get them emotionally connected to the children and teens in your church? Here are some of our favorite ideas.
- Make them rotating prayer leaders. Ask them to take turns going into the various classes for the first five minutes of class. They need to listen to the children (or teens) prayer requests and then pray over them.
- Make them church leader of the month. They can address all of the young people as a group or pick a specific age group to visit. Think along the lines of the student of the month at schools. The chosen church leader should share things like favorite food, favorite Bible verse, favorite person in the Bible besides Jesus, the thing they enjoy most about their leadership role, one of the gifts God has given them and how they use it to serve Him, etc. The presentation should be no more than five or ten minutes. Try to leave time for students to ask a couple of questions.
- Make a pictorial directory of the children or teens in your ministry. Give each leader a copy and ask them to pray for the young people by name.
- Have them take turns as a greeter for children or teens on the way to class. Give them your pictorial directory and encourage them to great the young people by name.
- Host Eclairs with Elders, Doughnuts with Deacons and Muffins with Ministers. Put conversation prompts on each table to encourage them to get to know each other better.
- Give them our free classroom evaluation sheet and ask them to evaluate one of your Bible classes. They may not be willing to teach a class, but when given an evaluation form, they may be willing to observe one.
- If your elders have a ”flock”, encourage them to engage personally with the children and teens in their group as much as they do the adults. Many churches divide the members amongst their elders in an attempt to make sure no one slips through the cracks. This works well in some places better than others. If your elders aren’t in touch with the adults in their flock, they won’t engage with the kids and teens either. If they regularly communicate with their flock, however, they may appreciate the reminder that the young people need their attention as well.
- Secret pals. Kids love sneaking around doing nice things for church leaders. The leaders are usually shocked to later discover their secret pals were children or teens. This can create the beginning of a relationship or at least a better emotional connection.
- Ask church leaders to join young people on a field trip or participating in a service project. Encourage leaders to interact with the young people during the experience. You can even suggest a ”research” project for them to investigate by asking students their opinions on the chosen topic.
Getting your church leaders emotionally connected to the children and teens in your church can only benefit your ministry. It is worth taking a little extra time to facilitate their involvement.