Twice a year, I invite a group of 8-10 kids from our elementary ministry to participate in a focus group. The kids range from grades 3-5 and are a mixture of boys and girls. I choose kids who are new and kids who have been attending for years. It’s normally on a Wednesday night. We eat together and then spend an hour talking. I ask for their input, feedback, and ideas on how to improve the ministry. I take different parts of the ministry and ask them to rate it using a chart. Here are a few examples:
Keeps my attention————————————————-Don’t Pay Attention
Feel loved and cared for——————————————No one notices me
I ask the kids to be brutally honest. What are some ways we can improve their experience at church? What are some things they are struggling with as a kid and need help with? What are some new things they’d like to see in the ministry? What parts of the ministry are boring? What parts of the ministry are they excited about? Do they feel loved and valued? Do they feel connected? Do they have friendships they have established at church?
I then take their feedback and ideas back to our team. We carefully analyze it and then tweak, change, or adjust areas that need to be improved.
Did you know Blue’s Clues is ranked as one of the most effective children’s shows of all times? A big reason is because before they aired an episode, it had been tested and reviewed by a group of kids. If the kids identified a part of the show as boring or seemed to be disengaged, they would go back and adjust that part of the episode.
When a child says something is boring, it means they are not connecting. If you can identify and adjust those areas, your ability to connect with the kids will go to a whole new level. And it all starts by simply asking kids questions and listening to them with an open heart.