In our previous post, we defined Children’s Ministry as “partnering with parents to guide kids toward a HEART for God”. Parents are ultimately responsible, but as Children’s Ministry leaders, our part includes 5 elements.
The first element is Heartfelt Relationships (the “H” in HEART).
Memorize this: ministry always happens best in the context of relationships…period!
Program, curriculum, facilities, resources and many other things are important…relationships are essential – it’s about people!
As a leader, we have a responsibility to ensure that our ministry is characterized by Heartfelt Relationships in all directions – a 360° approach to relationships that might look something like the diagram to the right (with the assumption that all relationships are ultimately to point toward and deepen our relationship with God). If our ministry is characterized by these relationships, the foundation is laid for deep and meaningful impact in all directions.
So how do you do this? Here are a few pointers to get you started:
1. Realize it takes a commitment.
Building relationships is harder than building facilities, or great program, or just about anything else. It takes time, effort and vulnerability…and it starts with YOU, the leader.
2. Model the relationships you want.
It starts with you, the leader. Have you taken time to intentionally define the relationship you want to have with parents? Volunteers? Kids? You might want to start by doing that.
3. Vision cast for relationships.
We all know that accomplishing a vision starts with vision-casting. Make relationships a core element as you vision cast. Are you talking about it? Encouraging it? Providing platforms for it?
4. Create opportunities for relationship building.
As the leader, you are key to the design of your Children’s Ministry. Does your program structure provide real opportunities for relationship building between each group? Think down to basics, such as traffic flow and program time structures…do they enhance or hinder relationship building? What about your overall program schedule – are you keeping families so busy that relationships are hard to come by? Ask yourself questions about every little element of your program, looking through the lens of relationship building…you might be surprised at what you find.
These are just a few ideas on creating opportunities for Heartfelt Relationships. All of our ministries are different so they will all look a little different. The most important thing is being intentional about the idea of relationship in your ministry. It is the first element in partnering with parents to guide kids toward a HEART for God.