Children’s and Youth Ministries are, potentially, two of the most impactful ministries in the church. The age groups we serve are the most receptive to the Gospel and the most responsive to discipleship.
Too often, however, these two ministries stand as silos in the church, never actually working together to complement or enhance what the other does. This is truly unfortunate because, in truth, creating synergy between ministries can result in a powerful impact in the lives of the children and youth they serve, and makes the lives of volunteers and parents much easier!
Here are 5 ways the Children’s & Youth Leaders can begin to create synergy between their ministries:?
Synergy between ministries begins with communication. Too often, however, the Youth Pastor and Children’s Pastor never actually speak about to each other about what they are doing in their areas. They might say hi in the hallway, but their ministries might as well be different planets that have nothing to do with each other.
Think about being a 5th or 6th grader who’s grown up in your Children’s Ministry. Now think about switching from Children’s Ministry to Youth Ministry from one Sunday to the next. How does that make them feel? Is there anything familiar to them at all when they walk into that youth room?
Hopefully it’s not this drastic in your church, but my experience says it might be pretty close. Whether you are the Children’s leader or the youth leader, take it upon yourself to initiate communication with the other. And I would suggest that this begin simply by getting to know each other in a relational manner. Go from there to make conversation about your ministries a regular occurrence.#KidMin and #StuMin leaders…start communicating with each other! Click To Tweet
Sync Your Calendars
Once you’ve begun communicating, the next step that really helps create synergy is not scheduling over each other. Of course, regular service times are going to involve program happening at the same time, but special events and most other program should be coordinated.
Syncing calendars helps you have an understanding of what the other department is doing so you can think through how to schedule your own program. This might still mean you want to schedule events at the same time in order to support each other. But it might mean working together to not schedule program at the same time so you can find ways to reduce conflict and overlap for families.
Either way, having access to each others’ ministry schedule is an important step in coordinating ministries.#KidMin & #StuMin need to sync calendars to be fair to parents & kids. Click To Tweet
Have a Plan
You’ve started communicating and building a relationship. You’ve done the basic step of syncing calendars so you know what the other ministry is planning. Now it’s time to start planning together. No, this doesn’t mean that everything you do involves the other ministry. But it does mean that you sit down together and identify the significant parts of ministry that can complement and enhance the other. There are many times when this might happen, but the single biggest area to focus on is the transition of a child from Children’s to Youth Ministry.
How can you prepare a child for this transition? Think of the day itself, but also think well beyond that time. For example, if your 6th graders enter youth ministry at the beginning of 7th grade, is there a way to expose them even when they are in 5th grade?
This takes planning and coordinating – together.
Use Common Language
A significant way in creating a smooth transition it to use common language. Now, hopefully there’s a fairly common language church-wide which is embedded in the culture as a whole (speaking to vision, mission, values, etc.). But typically Children’s and Youth have very different languages. We do things differently.
And that’s OK!
But if Children’s and Youth can create a common language, at least in part, it will go a long way to creating synergy between ministries and, more importantly, creating a comfort level with kids and parents that you just won’t have if you are acting as completely different entities.Common language between #KidMin & #StuMin is key to cohesive transition. Click To Tweet
Show Up at Each Others Events
Leaders of each ministry ought to have opportunity to be “up front” of the other ministry at certain times. This might be part of your intentional transition plan. Volunteer leaders should be present at each others’ events at times (especially youth leaders at Children’s events).
How do you create synergy between Children’s & Youth Ministry?
(please share in comments below)