3 Things to Remember
There are three things that I think are really great for children's ministers to think about when thinking about giving, being hospitable, and giving their grace-filled presence to families coming to their church.
First of all, I would say begin on your knees. I think it's good to gather the children's ministry team before service to huddle together, to pray, and to come into the Lord's presence. And when we've been welcomed into his presence, it prepares our hearts to welcome others into our presence. And so, begin on your knees, knowing that we have a God who welcomes us so that we can welcome others.
2. Be Warm
Second of all, just be warm. Give a warm greeting to people. My friend, Matt, who is the lead pastor of Bible Center Church in Charleston, West Virginia, says that when a new family comes to their church, he wants his children's ministry team to do three things: look, level, and love. He wants them to be on the lookout for new families and to be on the lookout for families that are maybe just having a particularly hard time. Look for the ones that are struggling with pushing the stroller and carrying the diaper bag, and just check in and move toward them—not just see them, but move toward them. Second is to get on their level. Get down on a kid's level where you can talk to the kids eye-to-eye and welcome them. And then, love them. If that kid has a superhero on their shirt, remember that. Show their value by remembering their name and remembering something about them so that you can welcome them in even the next time they come as well.
Begin on your knees, knowing that we have a God who welcomes us so that we can welcome others.
3. Consider Your Programming
So, the first thing is to begin on our knees to experience God's grace-filled presence so that we can give it to others. The second is to give a warm greeting. And the third would be to think about your programming as a whole and say Does it value children as part of the life of the church as a whole? One of the ways to do that is to give kids a job to do. Give kids the opportunity to carry the Bibles into the service on Sunday morning or to participate. My daughters got to serve on the hospitality team and help make coffee and pass out the bulletins before church.
If we value children in our communities by allowing them to contribute to the life and worship of the church, we've created a welcoming and grace-filled environment for children.
Jared Kennedy is the author of Keeping Your Children’s Ministry on Mission: Practical Strategies for Discipling the Next Generation.
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