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7 Characteristics of Breakout Children’s Ministries

Do you want your children’s ministry to grow?

Do you want to get beyond babysitting?

Do you want to involve others & move past needing to do everything yourself (or with just the “regular” volunteers)? 

Of course, we all want these things in our ministries. We want momentum, engagement, high participation and, more than anything, impact.

Here are a few characteristics I’ve observed of what I would call breakout children’s ministries:

1. It’s a God thing.

A couple of my favorite quotes are from Phil Vischer, creator of Veggie Tales. They go like this, and I think they speak for themselves: 

The most important thing is not the work I can do for God. The most important thing is to make God the most important thing.”

The impact God has planned for us doesn’t occur when we’re pursuing impact. It occurs when we’re pursuing God.”

2. Focus is on the Gospel.

Isn’t this what we’re supposed to be all about? Then why do we get so caught up in environment, communication techniques, relationships, curriculum, etc.? Are all those important? They are absolutely critical!! But if they don’t ultimately lead to a focus on the Gospel, none of them really mean a whole lot.

3. Alignment matters.

The leaders of your church should have a very specific vision. Your children’s ministry must be carefully & intentionally aligned with this vision or, sooner or later, you can no longer be effective and, most likely, will cause dissension.

4. Stories tell the vision.

A vision statement up on the wall is great, but most of this time it won’t inspire response. Recently I saw this quote by Ally Evans:

There are 2 Steps to Growing Your Kidmin: Create a culture of invitation & share stories all the time. 

Vision will be communicated by the stories you tell. Drive change, recruitment, parent engagement – virtually everything! – through telling these stories.

5. Everything rises and falls on leadership.

You didn’t really think I wouldn’t include this one, did you?

The longer I’m in ministry, the more deeply I believe this. What does this mean? That the primary responsibility of leadership (you and me!) is to equip & develop leaders. Click here for a post about the difference between the two. Click here  for a post about “how” to do both.

6. Families are engaged.

Practical equipping is the rule. Service opportunities are offered. Spiritual formation is primarily about what parents are and do, not what happens at church. Communication is excellent. These types of things are critical.

7. Calendars are clipped.

To many of us think our success is dependent on the number of items on the children’s ministry calendar. In a sense this is true – you can tell a person’s (or ministries’) priorities by looking at how they invest their time & their money. In the case of children’s ministry, however, less is more. We are very good at dividing and running our families into the ground. Stop doing this, focus only on what matters most, and watch your ministry grow.

What would you add?

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Greg Baird is a Children’s Ministry veteran with over 20 years ministry experience. Greg has had the privilege of serving in four San Diego area churches, including under the leadership of both John Maxwell and David Jeremiah. He continues to fulfill his life calling through the ministry of ChildrensMinistryLeader.com, offering an experienced voice in equipping and connecting Children’s Ministry leaders around the country and around the world.