A Caring Leader
Help your volunteers see the vital role they play in making kids feel welcome and valued. Instead of standing in the back talking or drinking coffee, ask them to be among the kids. Looking for new kids. Watching for kids who look bored or lonely. All it takes is for one caring volunteer to show they care and it can make a big difference in the life of a lonely child.
Create opportunities to make friends. Start off your lesson with an icebreaker. The icebreaker should involve all the kids and give them opportunities to talk with other children.
Circle up. When kids are sitting in a row of chairs, it naturally can cause them to feel alone. They are facing the front of the room versus looking at other children face-to-face. For a big part of your lesson, get the kids out of rows and move them into circles.
Circles are more conducive for helping kids feel part of a group. It can make even the biggest of rooms more personal as children are part of a small group with 6-8 other children.
Guest hosts. Enlist and train a team of kids to be guest hosts. They wait by the door and when a new child enters, they connect with the child and stay with the child for the entire class. The kids serving in this capacity should be friendly, confident and outgoing.
Watch the edges. Lonely kids normally hang out on the edges. They sit in the back or out on the edges whenever they can. Be watching for these kids. Go to them and make them feel welcome. Help them get integrated into a group of children.
Make church fun for kids. Loneliness and boredom often go hand-in-hand. When you are bored, your mind starts wandering. You start thinking about the negative elements of your situation. When you’re bored, you get restless and want to leave.
Church should be fun for kids. Hang on a minute. I know what some of you are thinking. Kids should be serious at church and focus on learning.
By “fun” I don’t mean playing games with no larger purpose. Nor do I mean laughing for the entire service or class time.
What I do mean is engaging lessons that capture the attention of kids and that add something meaningful to their life while they are at church. For kids — the way they express engagement is by calling it fun. And that’s what parents mean when they ask their children “Did you have fun today?”