We asked our community, “How can the church better serve you and your family?” The overwhelming response was, “Help our kids.” This led us to pray and research the needs of our unique rural area. Helping community children meant transporting them to church since many of their families didn’t attend church anywhere. A bus ministry team visited and invited lots of children. At first, we attempted to pick up every child and meet every need. Eventually the opportunities became overwhelming. It was obvious we needed to simplify and focus.
We chose to work simply from the command of the Great Commission, preach the gospel and make disciples. Systematic bus routes, visiting door to door, and tracking contacts helped increase ministry efficiency. As new children arrived, teachers taught on salvation and presented each child with the opportunity to respond. Children received an invitation to participate in a discipleship growth track.
A sense of fellowship and belonging soon followed. Children began participating in the corporate worship and serving in roles alongside adults. Child leaders began to emerge. Active student-led ministries developed. The results were miraculous. To God be All the Glory for helping us to keep it simple.
- Develop Bus Routes –
- Tip: Focus on children/families near the church first, then branch out. If you don’t have a bus, recruit families willing to bring a child to church. The volunteer family becomes responsible for mentoring the child.
- Home Visits –
- Tip: Smiles and cookies can open a lot of doors and hearts.
- Family Supper –
- Tip: Create a time to share a meal with students and invite families.
- Celebrate Milestones –
- Tip: Births, Baby Dedications, First Day of School, Salvations, Baptisms, First Bibles, Graduations, etc. Always invite the family.
- Develop A Social Media Plan –
- Tip: Create a private/secret group for your children’s ministry and a parent’s only group.
- Create a simple Growth Track –
- Tip: Base it on the Know, Grow & Go model.
Our continued vision is to provide simple opportunities for children to encounter God’s love in new and exciting ways and be forever changed by the power of the Gospel. In summary…
- We focused on prayer.
- Our pastor committed to revival.
- Staff saw and understood the divine purpose of reaching the unchurched.
- We returned to the basics.
- We committed to equip and release children into ministry.
Karen V. Coley