Accepting the charge"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" – Isaiah 6:8
The Mobile Children’s Ministry
Are you running a children’s ministry out of tubs - loading and unloading your car every week? While it may not be ideal, it is what many churches are doing.
We have tried several things over the years, here are ideas we have found helpful:
- Organize, organize, organize – it will make it easier for everyone!
- Color code the tubs by age group for easy sorting.
- Don’t carry more than you have to. Before teaching, spend some time putting all the supplies into oversize zip-lock bags and label them by the lesson number and week. Then pull out the toys that correlate to your current lesson and perhaps a few extra.
- Sort the toys into centers: building toys, creative toys, books, puzzles, this way you can pull out exactly what you need to create several centers.
- Keep one tub filled with teacher supplies: crayons, scissors, tissues, tape etc. We have used toolboxes on wheels in the past.
- Use colored masking tape to mark out centers on the floor instead of carrying around rugs for older children.
- Find folding, kid-sized tables and chairs for younger classes (Walmart), rugs and mats for the infant and toddler classes.
- Get assistance from others who are not teaching. They can help unload cars and put up signs.
- Flatbed carts from Costco can help with transporting multiple tubs.
- Ask the facility if you can keep a storage container onsite. For example, one school we met in allowed us to keep ours in the back of the facility next to their supplies.
- Leave thank you notes and gift cards for teachers – if you meet at a school. One teacher emptied out a cupboard in her classroom and allowed us to leave some supplies in it.
- Remember that your hard work and planning are helping children learn about God and build relationships with him.
My wife Ronnye and I serve as coordinators in the Antelope Valley Church in Lancaster, CA. We want to
share a blessing God gave our great children’s ministry when Fred and Star Ritzendollar moved here to
lead the church! They introduced a new teacher rotation idea that has been a huge help to our ministry –
a Team Rotation Schedule.
We put together four teams made up of Coordinators, Teachers and Assistants. Additionally, there is one
overall supply person for snacks and crafts and one coordinator couple who oversees the entire process.
Next, we used the curriculum schedule to create a rotation of the volunteer teams. Teams A, B, C and D
each serve one Sunday and one midweek per month. So, if Team A serves on Sunday, they teach that
week’s midweek lesson as well. Depending on the calendar, a team may have to serve a second time in
a month, but it evens out over time.
This has helped our adults be more filled spiritually, feel more attached to their bible talks and be more
involved with their visitors. Also, the children have built more relationships with disciples, rather than
simply the two or three people serving in the traditional three-to-six month rotations.
Of course this will not work in every church because there need to be enough members to serve and be
in service, but we encourage churches with enough members to try this!
We hope this schedule will help our Kingdom Kids become Disciples, and help keep our members faithful
and strong spiritually!
I attached an example the schedule and roster – and we are open to have other ministries to contact us
for more information.
Thank you and God Bless!
One thing to point out that the "Schedule never gets bumped if Kingdom Kids is cancelled for any reason. It is to complicated to move.
For example we have the SW Conference this weekend here.
Kingdom Kids is cancelled this Sunday so we can attend the conference. Team B would have served. Team B will serve Wednesday for Midweek.
Next Sunday - Team C serves.
When the leaders lead in Israel, when the people volunteer, praise the Lord. Judges 5:2 (HCSB)
“Let the little children come to Me. Don’t stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you: whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Mark 10:14-15 (HCSB)
Volunteers are a crucial part of the children’s ministry. No matter your church’s rotation schedule – once a year, twice a year, quarterly, or once a month for six months, you’ll make a call for volunteers to teach classes. In my experience, coordinators are the key to the recruitment process. Their faith and spirit can inspire quick responses, or no response from the congregation.
Consider some great “coordinators” in the bible: David inspired people to join him in the wilderness when he was hiding from Saul. Nehemiah inspired men of Israel to join him in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Daniel inspired Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to join him in eating only vegetables during their training. (Not to mention that they were effective leaders on their own.) Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James and John and they left their nets immediately to follow him. Paul kept in touch with churches, elders and individuals all over the Mediterranean area and he called many of them “fellow workers” in the gospel.
Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Heb 13:7
Children’s ministry leaders should speak the word of God and should have lives that display great faith in God. Considering the biblical examples, I would like to suggest a different title for coordinators - perhaps “servant” or “inspirer.” The word “coordinator” suggests an administrative leadership, but the best coordinators are actually shepherds for the teachers serving with them and, by extension, the children in their classes.
My husband and I have coordinated the children’s ministry for over ten years in three different churches. It seems common in churches that recruiting volunteers to teach is a challenge. However, after serving one rotation in a church we generally do not have trouble getting volunteers for future sessions. We even had one session where we were almost FULL before we made our first announcement to the church!
There is no formula for recruiting teachers, and no checklist for the perfect ministry, but here are some ideas and thoughts that my husband and I try focus on when we are leading a session of the children’s ministry.
BEFORE the session begins:
- Pray for supportive and excited teachers before you start recruiting.
- Be excited every time you talk about the children’s ministry – whether it’s a personal discussion or a congregational announcement. (If you are not sincerely excited, then perhaps it’s time for serious bible study about your motivations for leading in the children’s ministry.)
- Ask specific people to serve with you – create a support group for yourself within the session.
- Have a theme or central thought for the term that you can share during announcements – we have done a camp theme, a “summer of fun”, a holiday season of serving…anything goes!
- HAVE FUN!
- Remember your first love (Revelation 2:4) – faithful labor is great, sacrifice is admirable, but LOVE is the greatest motivation for yourself and others. Love God, love the children, love the teachers. (1Cor 13:13)
- Pray for the teachers weekly, if not daily. Be aware of their needs. They are in your ministry for a short time and you are their shepherd.
- Emphasize communion – every teacher NEEDS to be there each week. Ensure that your teachers have a deep, thoughtful communion time each week – whether you are leading the lesson, or the evangelist, or you rotate between brothers.
- Remove the pressure – the goal is to inspire the children to love God. Encourage teachers to share their excitement about God. Allow them to create their own lessons, as long as they don’t lower the standard and throw things together at the last minute.
- Attitude is everything – Remind the teachers that this IS church service for the children. If they see an adult who dreads being at church, they might dread coming as well. If they see someone who is excited to be there and loves talking about God, they will too!
- Love the teachers each week in different ways – give individual cards, have individual talks, give small gifts, or provide breakfast muffins. Find out what motivates each teacher, and then you can rotate how you will give to the group each week.
- Thank the teachers each week for their service. Remind them that Jesus would probably choose to be with the children rather than in the “main” service.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff – substitutes, sickness, missing snacks, scrapes and bruises – keep your patience and a joyful spirit and you’ll help the teachers remain calm and joyful as well.
- Remind the teachers weekly to look God’s lessons from the children. What can WE learn this week about having a childlike heart?
If you help to make the entire rotation a joyful experience focused on God, others will want to experience it. The children’s ministry will gain a reputation for love. The disciples will know that their relationship with God will be strengthened and encouraged during their service – they will not be forgotten for a few months. Then the people will volunteer and we can all praise the Lord!
We send our greetings from Budapest, Hungary. It’s very good to see God’s amazing work in the Kingdom Kids ministry in the last few years.
At the present time we teach 61 children about God and the Bible during our church services. Most of the children have been born in the church, so it is great to see them growing up together in God’s Kingdom. Our teachers alternate every four months, allowing the children to know more disciples. We aim to lead the children to get to know and love God, to think and feel that the church is their family, to find true friends, and to become disciples one day.
The basis of our lessons is the Kingdom Kids Curriculum, for which we are really grateful. We can see how much time, energy, knowledge, and especially heart and love were needed to prepare these materials. They are a great help for us to teach our kids.Additionally, in the last few years some of the Hungarian disciples attended a one-year Children’s Religious Education Course, and this will really benefit our Kingdom Kids ministry.
In an effort to reach non-disciple families, we organize special events every year such as a Masquerade Ball, a Santa Claus Party, Summer Day Camps, a Father-Son Hiking Camp, Father-Daughter Ball, Mother-Daughter weekend, Teen & Preteen Camp, and Youth & Family afternoons. These fun events make it easy for the kids to invite their non-Christian friends.
We also consider it important to make the kids part of our HOPE programs, because taking care of disadvantaged people is one basis of our discipleship. Most recently, the children made Christmas cards for people in homeless shelters and children living in a children’s home – and the church handed out more than one hundred Christmas cards! The children made the cards with lots of joy and the people in need were very pleased receiving them.
We have faith that God blesses our endeavors. There is nothing as wonderful as the completion of the love and faith of the whole church at the baptism of a child who has been raised in Kingdom Kids.
”I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:6
Most of the volunteers serving in Kingdom Kids are exceptional, hard-working, and caring individuals. We need to recognize and appreciate those who invest so much time and effort in leading our children’s classes. These brothers and sisters give up their valuable Sunday mornings to be with the children.
When you think of a coordinator, what do you think of? Perhaps you think about passing out information, filling craft boxes, or bringing snacks. What about encouraging the teachers emotionally and spiritually? What are you doing as a coordinator to retain and recruit new teachers in your Kingdom Kids program?
Joe and Stacey Dean
The Columbus Church of Christ has quarterly Kingdom Kids rotations with one couple serving as coordinators, and teachers assigned according to the standard adult/child ratios. Currently there are three couples serving as coordinators, with one of the couples as the head coordinators. We are actively recruiting for a fourth couple so that no one needs to serve more than one session per calendar year.
Graduations for the children are done at the start of the summer rotation – July, August, September – with the exception of children graduating between the infants, 2s and 3s, and 4-5-K classes. These children move up at the discretion of the parents and coordinators.
For the last six years (since our arrival in Columbus) the Sunday services have been primarily in an elementary school and the Kingdom Kids classes have been held in the full-sized gymnasium. There are cafeteria tables set up in areas of the gym that serve as the “rooms” for each age group, with a minimum of two tables for each class. More tables are added as needed to accommodate the number of children in the class.
Foam floor mats that join together like puzzle pieces are used to make an infant-friendly area. The mats are 2’x2’, and currently a total space of 10’x10’ is created each Sunday with the mats. The area is surrounded by safety gates locked together. Each week the mats are wiped down with a non-toxic, Clorox cleaning product and stored “face to face” to prevent grime on the gym floor from contaminating the “baby facing” side of the mats.
Singing is done all together as a large group in the center of the gymnasium.
Diagram of how we divide the room - not to scale.
Sign In at the left bottom corner with the Infants right Behind the Table
Joe and Stacey Dean have served as coordinators for various terms, but generally over the summer rotation. (July, August, September) Generally, each term they have coordinated has a theme, decorations and props at the entrance area of the gymnasium, and costumes or recognizable shirts on the coordinators. There is a “Kingdom Kids Cheer” that we do at the end of each singing session. (only during our term- the other coordinators haven’t really picked up on it.)
Entryway – the entry area always has a “structure” made of PVC pipes and joints. We’ve used it to make a separate entryway, or provide a way to hang decorations at the entry area because the gym is too large to effectively decorate. We have positioned the structure over the tables before (large enough to go all the way around a table) and we have placed it between the tables to be like a “gateway” into the class area. It’s 6 feet high, 8-12 feet long and about 2 feet deep.
Sometimes we cover it with fabric, other times we use a large roll of butcher paper and tape the paper around the structure to make “walls.” Sometimes we just hand decorations from it loosely. We’ve also used large rolls of brown packaging paper – it’s very thick and sturdy – and covered it to make a castle.
The most common elements we use almost every term are: roll of white butcher paper (about $10-15 at a GFS or wholesale shop), poster paints and foam brushes to paint signs on the paper (we had leftover paints from one of our kids and the brushes are $2 for a pack of 10 or so), clear packaging tape ($1-$4 a roll depending on where you buy it) to hang the paper on the structure. We usually cut the paper to the lengths we need and then each week, we take the paper off the structure and roll it up, take the structure apart and store everything in a utility closet at the school.
Here is a list and brief summary of the activities and themes we have used over the last six years.
Summer of Fun –
- We hung large, easy-to-read signs at each class table and assigned each class a “theme” or “character” for each month. Pictures of each character were taped to the signs for the month.
- Each month was a different theme with a different theme scripture.
- June - International – “Go make disciples of all nations” – each class was a different country
- July – Under the Sea – “” – each class was a different sea creature
- August – Olympics – “” – each class was a different sport
- The entry area had a large map hanging on the PVC structure, and decorations and props (like old suitcases, travel maps and stuff) on the entry-way tables.
- The coordinators dressed like tourists. (Hawaiian shirts, cameras, sandals…), then dressed in summer clothes with floaties, then dressed in referee outfits with whistles and hats and such.
- We attached summer-themed foam shapes to the sign-in table pens to keep them at the tables and not in parent pockets. (At this time, sign in was taking place at individual class areas.)
- Teachers participated in weekly games and activities during the singing circle. Especially during the “Olympics” session, when the entire group was divided into two teams and competed against one another. We encouraged the children to cheer for their teachers during the relay races and other activities.
- Each month a long banner hung down the side of the entry structure with a list of birthday names for that month.
- October – Harvest, giving, FARM
- November – Thanksgiving, serving, RESTAURANT
- December – Christmas, celebrate, BETHLEHEM
- Created a walk-through display with children’s art and ended in a nativity scene. The kids walked their families through the structure and explained the nativity story as they went through the display.
- Created a walk-through display with children’s art and ended in a nativity scene. The kids walked their families through the structure and explained the nativity story as they went through the display.
- The coordinators dressed in costume according to the theme (farmers, short order cook and waitress, “Mary and Joseph”-type robes)
- Teachers were encouraged to dress up for the theme
- The structure – decorations relating to the theme hung on it, and also the theme scripture for that month was posted on the structure.
- Each week during the singing circle we reviewed the theme scripture, played a game of some sort and then sang songs together
- Large map of the world posted on the wall
- Structure had maps and travel items on it, the sign in area was decorated with “treasures” from around the world (household items, garage sale stuff…)
- Our goal was to have children memorize scriptures and work together to get the “plane” across the world map.
- Each week, we would gather near the map and move the plane across the map as children memorized verses and verified them with their teachers
- We passed out memory verses printed on small scrolls (tan paper rolled up with a ribbon)
- Children who memorized a set number of scriptures during the term earned a “bible adventures” t-shirt. We created a logo and made the shirts ourselves with iron-on transfer sheets.
- We made T-shirts for every “camp counselor” (teacher) for the term
- Used a hula hoop as the campfire and sat around it each week for singing time
- Created a campfire song – combination of six common Kingdom Kids songs and ended with a “Camp Waukahndawahduh” chant
- At the end of the term, all the kids went out during service and performed the camp song
- There was a castle at the entry way – each week we added something new to the castle – “building up the kingdom” – blue fabric for a moat, hanging vines and greenery (Christmas decorations), flags, a window cut out of the wall.
- Focused on the Word as the sword – how we can fight temptations with God’s word
- Every class had two or three memory verses that everyone had to learn. If a child did those two, they could train to become a “knight”
- Parents and children worked together to come up with something to strengthen in their character
- Each child was given a personal scripture relating to that area – honesty, obedience, leadership
- Battles – each week a coordinator “battled” with an enemy (a teacher pretending). The enemy would challenge (“You can’t do this, you’re weak.”) and the children had to call out scriptures to give the “good knight” strength. (“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength”) If the kids could recite a scripture, then the knight would win, if not, the enemy would win the battle.
- Each child who memorized the two general and one personal scripture was knighted – named “Lady Sophia, the serving” or “Sir Grant, the obedient” – we had a knighting ceremony each week after the first month.
- Each knight received a special bracelet with a cross charm (made with rope we already had on hand)
- Each knight was addressed as “Sir” or “Lady” as they signed in to class
- The church had a theme of “God With Us” for the year, so we carried that into the Kingdom Kids theme and covered bible stories that showed God was with people in the bible
- Smaller structure at the entrance had a sign – each week was a different “movie” we were going to do that week. For example: 40 Days After Tomorrow (Noah); Saving Private Gideon, The Floating Hand (Daniel), we tried to cover different movie genres as well as boy/girl stories
- Movie theme – entryway had red curtains hanging from it and the children entered through the movie screen into the class area.
- Inflatable ‘Oscar awards’ stood at the entrance
- Small popcorn boxes and palm trees were table decorations at the sign in area
- Coordinators dressed like directors
- Each week we gathered together in the singing circle – but we went over a story in the bible and then acted out the story and filmed the kids doing the story. (used a teacher’s video camera)
- The plan was to make a video as a string of movie trailers, but we never got that part done.
- At the end of the term each teacher received an award for being a great servant (small movie awards)
Joe & Stacy Dean