Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How Do You Keep Score in Children's Ministry?

Are you winning in your Children’s Ministry?  And, if so, how do you know?  I had an experience a couple of months ago that made me rethink how I define success. 

Back in March, I my took my daughter to an indoor amusement park for a birthday party.  Not only did kids get to play in the giant hamster tubes, but they also received a gift card to play in the arcade.  

My daughter wasn’t sure where to start but I knew just where to take her.  No question about it.  Air hockey!  It was one of my favorite games as a kid, and my daughter had never played. 
As luck would have it we found an open table that was just her size.  I thought it was going to be awesome.  The only problem was it had a broken scoreboard.  It registered all of my points but didn’t count any of hers.

Is our scoreboard working?

I wonder sometimes if we’re using a broken scoreboard in our Children’s Ministries? How do we define success?

  • Weekend attendance?   
  • Low leader-to-child ratios?
  • Number of kids who bring guests?
  • How kids react to the lesson?
  • How many kids are bringing Bibles or memorizing verses?

These all are good things, but did you notice what all of the metrics I mentioned above have in common?  They’re all about what happens at church, and they have little to do with what happens at home. 

Honestly there’s good reason for that.  What happens at church is what’s right in our faces.  We see it every weekend.  We get evaluated on it by our supervisors.  If we want to be successful, we have to make it work. 

What if we found a new way to keep score?

But what if we stopped thinking about our success? What if we stopped focusing on only one side of the scoreboard and started asking the question, are parents winning at home?  Are they equipped and prepared to disciple their kids?  Are we setting them up to have vibrant conversations about faith?  And, if they’re not, what can we do about it? 

Most of us value the role of parents.  We understand they have much more time and influence on kids than we do.  We want a thriving family ministry, but Sunday morning dominates our week, and the urgent tends to trump the most important.  

Ron Hunter, founder of the D6 Family Ministry Conference, said it like this, “The greatest challenge is getting ministry leaders to think about parents’ success rather than their own.”

This doesn’t mean we neglect our weekend environments, but it does mean we have to figure out how to slant the floor in the direction of the home. 

What would that look like for you?

Back at the arcade my daughter ended up finding a different air hockey table, one that kept track of both of our scores.  That game was so much better than the first.  In fact, I let her win several times, because, honestly, it's a lot more fun helping someone else win instead of just racking up points for myself.

If you'd like to hear more from Ron Hunter and other leading voices in family ministry, we'd love to have you join us Wednesday, May 25th for the D6 Connect Tour we're hosting at Southland Christian Church.  Come join us to talk about how we can set families up to win.  

If you can't make the D6 Connect Tour, I highly recommend the main D6 Conference in the fall as a great experience to help you take steps to bridge the gap between church and home.

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