Awakening Children's Ministry Post-COVID-19
Children's Pastors and workers are scratching their heads on the "how" to bring the children back into the church. Some churches have been closed and plan to reopen in various stages. How does that look for Children's Ministry?
A group of children's ministry leaders recently met to discuss the ins and outs of opening. "Begin to decide if you'll be reopening church and children’s ministries at the same time. Another option churches are exploring is allowing families to sit together in their services while keeping social distancing regulations. Have worship services so everyone is together first to evaluate the number of families and volunteers that are returning."
Some interesting statistics have come to light in an article from the Barna group stating, "Over half of churches (52%) say that Sunday school for children 5th grade or younger will not be available this summer, and 43 percent say the same for youth ministry."
Pastors and congregations will, perhaps, have to get used to wiggling Toddlers and restless children in the worship service.
Churches with a strong online presence intend to continue the online offerings along with in-person teaching at some level.
With everyone navigating new territory, Cheryl Markland of the Baptist North State Convention of Carolina poses questions that church leaders can ask in evaluating ministry for children starting up again. She begins by taking a look at volunteer staff and their safety concerns and number of children per worker; staggering attendance; restricting numbers; combining classes or families simply staying together for the entire Sunday School and Worship Service. Preschool and nursery classes, should they be offered, will have extra safety questions as to allowing baby bottles, blankets, diaper bags to be brought in from homes. Should there be temperature checks?
In the Barna group article "5 Things to Consider About the Future of Kids' Ministry" the first listed consideration is "assess the touchpoint of your kids' ministry. Touch points would include one on one engagement such as texts; phone calls; video chats, especially for youth ministry. Online resources for all ages and occasional check-in by kids' volunteers for elementary-age children.
Keeping young families connected and supported has been particularly challenging.
Uncomfortable with taking toddlers and babies anywhere this past year has left Mom's home with no place to go and no one to talk to over the age of four. M.O.P.S. International has recognized the challenge of meeting in person and launched their "Comeback Tour" this Spring. This Facebook page offers topics of interest to the young Mom as well as a place to experience a sense of community.
The common thread to once more weave the tapestry of Children's Ministry back into the church will likely be woven with ingenuity and the desire to serve God through the teaching of the youngest. Children are a heritage of the Lord. (Psalm 127:3) We are blessed by them and it is our responsibility to nurture them in the ways of God, however that may look going forward.
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 https://www.vanderbloemen.com/blog/childrens-ministry-after-covid19  https://www.barna.com/research/future-kids-ministry/  https://ncbaptist.org/21-steps-and-17-questions-to-prepare-your-childrens-ministry-after-covid-19/  ibid