I know lots of you who read this are doing kids’ ministry in a small church.
I admire you more than you know. Your jobs are some of the toughest on planet earth.
So what if your kid’s ministry has little to no budget? What if your church simply doesn’t have the resources to do fancy programs or launch big kid’s ministry campaigns.
How are you supposed to keep Sunday School interesting? How do you still make God’s Word unforgettable?
A few suggestions:
1. Leverage the locals
Small towns are brilliant.
You likely have people with unique talents that aren’t too far from you. And being in a small town means they are likely friendlier and more available than they would be in a place like San Diego. I’m talking about everyone from shepherds to sous chefs. People like:
– tree removers
One of the simplest things to do is to invite these people to Sunday morning to demonstrate for the kids what they do and how it applies to a particular story.
Have the farmer talk about growing food and how much rain means in a society that depends on the land to provide food. (The 10 Plagues, the Parable of the 3 Kinds of Soil, etc…)
Have the fisherman talk about fishing and how frustrating it can be. (Peter’s miraculous catch)
Have the tree guy talk about cutting down trees and what it would have taken to build an ark. How long would it take him to cut down THAT many trees??
The locals don’t need to be Sunday School teachers…you can have your regular teachers apply what the tradesmen talk about to the Bible after the fact.
But by simply having someone show up one morning with a chainsaw and a tree stump you immediately signal to the kids that this Sunday is going to be rather exciting :).
The problem with big churches and big kids’ ministries are the sheer numbers.
It’s a lot harder to safely move and keep track of 100 kids at one time, so classes tend to stay in one room the entire time.
But if you are teaching a class of 5, take them outside and teach under a tree. Go out to the parking lot and measure out Noah’s ark. Walk around the premises of your church and tell parts of a Bible story at various locations.
It’s a simple idea, but often a simple change of scenery or the act of moving while listening to something can change the experience and can increase the kid’s learning dramatically.
So give it a try. It doesn’t cost anything and requires almost no preparation.
(I still remember being in 5th grade and walking out into the church parking lot to walk off the size of the ark.)
3. Do more projects
I think one of the biggest opportunities for large church kid’s programs is the opportunity they have to reach out to their community.
Being in a small church, the numbers are a lot more manageable and its easier to coordinate an activity in your community.
So go to the local food bank and help out for a few hours one evening. Clean up a neighbors yard, go visit church members in the hospital.
Now this might not sound like a new idea, and of course it is not original.
But here is what you need to remember…
When you put “hands and feet” on Christianity by giving kids the opportunity to serve others and help people that are less fortunate, it does something a lot more powerful for their faith than any lesson ever could.
I know some of the most significant milestones in my own spiritual journey didn’t come from being in a church service. The stuff I remember the most came from serving…from being in the poorest parts of Africa, from being in places that are mostly closed to the Gospel, and even as simple as being in homes, not too far from my own, where the kids started crying simply because we had given them a Christmas they thought would never come.
Connect your kids to people and places that need help, that need love, and that need Jesus.
It might just shock you how big of an impact this kind of stuff will make on a young life.