I received some useful guides (free) from Lifeway - 6 Considerations for Reopening Children's Ministry and 10 Attributes of an Unshakeable Kid's Ministry.
Here are some highlights that reinforce and expand on our discussion this week:
- When and how to reopen will vary from community to community. You will want to consider health agency and local government recommendations. Discuss with church leadership how children's needs may be different from adults (especially since younger children cannot be vaccinated yet).
- Consider phasing in in-person programming. And phasing out digital and other offsite offerings.
- Take this opportunity to evaluate what you have been doing (both before and during the pandemic). What was working? What is worth keeping? How can it be improved? This is the perfect opportunity to do some visioning!
- Make sure your classroom is clean and welcoming. Be prepared for children who are not used to being in groups after such a long break. Make sure you have sufficient personal space for each child; consider requiring pre-registration.
- Communicate with past volunteers and potential volunteers about plans and changes in expectations. Pray with and for them as you decide how to proceed. Build relationships.
- Design a ministry that is family focused. Equip parents to have spiritual conversations with their children. Provide resources, encourage them with text messages, pray for them. Develop relationships.
- Make sure everything you do reflects your ministry's mission. Clearly define the "why" of your ministry. Communicate that mission to your volunteers and participants.
- Think outside the box (or the church). Your ministry does not have to be confined to one physical space. "Church from anywhere."
- Discipleship happens through authentic relationships between leaders, kids, and families. As leaders we model a personal relationship with Jesus by our actions.
- Volunteers should be trained and equipped. And take time regularly to encourage your volunteers.