by Gerad Hall
7 Years Ago
In 2008, we implemented 252 Basics and First Look curriculum into our Sunday morning environment. Our elders had recognized that a greater emphasis needed to be placed on kid’s ministry. Since then, we’ve gained a strategy for partnering Wildwood with families and providing a philosophy of ministry that helps leaders know when they are winning.
We began by implementing First Look for what was traditionally our Sunday school hour. There was so much material that we started a separate preschool program during our 2nd service.
In 10 weeks, we transitioned from a one-teacher classroom model of Sunday school to two small group leaders per group for Kindergarten through 5th grade.
During 2nd service, we introduced the second layer of 252 Basics by creating a kid’s production. Kids were having their friends come to their houses to spend the night on Saturday, because they didn’t want to miss church!
Tips And Insights
After seven years, one Orange Tour stop, six Orange Conferences, and reading every book written by Reggie Joiner, here are six things we’ve learned:
1) Structure for Success – Great ministries require multiple levels of leaderships (Examples: Apostles in Acts 6 and Moses in Exodus 18). We created positions in 2008 that we couldn’t fill for years, but after prayer and many recruiting attempts the Lord provided.
2) Recruit Right – People hate asking other people to volunteer. But recruiting the best leaders usually takes a face-to-face meeting with vision casting, connecting their story to your need, and sharing the full job description.
3) Fill the Cup – Every leader’s cup leaks. We do a VIP (Vision-Information-Prayer) meeting to start each Sunday morning.
4) Lower the Hurdles – If issues arise with a system, like access to supplies, then tweak the system so leaders don’t have to worry about secondary issues.
5) Utilize Resources – Take advantage of the great supplementary material that Orange puts out like Wonder, Feature Presentation, Get Reel, posters, Lead Small app, and more. Have students serve instead of attending Sunday school. Edit curriculum so that it works for your church culture.
6) Be patient – We started a lot of programming in 10 weeks, but after seven years we’re still shaping the culture of the church. Don’t lose sight of the fact that we’re trying to build something that will last forever—the faith of a child.
We cannot afford to not do the difficult work of kids’ ministry, because Jesus has given us the commission to build His Church by making disciples through the local church. As a local church leader, you have a very important work to be about, which God prepared in advance for you to do (Eph 2:10).
Gerad Hall is the family pastor for Wildwood Church in East Moline, Illinois. You can connect with Gerad through his blog.