Resuming KidMin After Covid-19
As governments begin to lessen restrictions on large group gatherings, many local congregations are developing strategies for returning to regular ministry. Due to the unique nature of children’s ministries, many are simply unsure about how to offer ministries to children in an environment where social distancing is still required or expected. This is an optional plan, resuming ministries in phases. Progression through these phases should be done in accordance with recommendations of your communities’ health officials.
International Children’s Ministries encourages you to comply with the directives of your local, state/territorial, and national governments, as well as the leadership of your national, regional, or state office. As we consider returning to a congregational setting for ministry, we should make sure that the proper considerations and precautions are taken to insure that our children, families, and fellow congregants are safe.
Phase One: Plan
Your church’s decision when and how to reopen is likely based on your church’s size and location as many areas vary. As you create your plan to reopen, take the time to talk with the church staff (lead pastor and ministry leaders) as well as your team about what policies and protocol need to be in place. As the children’s ministry leader, you are responsible to ensure the safety for one of the most vulnerable groups of people at your church. It is okay to ask tough questions and bring your needs up to the rest of the church. Consider polling your church families, asking their plans for returning to church, as well as what their concerns are. Will you require temperature checks or facial coverings for those attending your ministry activities? Do not let the needs of the kids and ministry volunteers be overlooked; point out the details, concerns, and possibilities so that people are aware and well-informed.
Phase Two: Communicate
Within your church and your ministry to children, you are going to be surrounded by members who may not be confident in attending church immediately. To help answer questions and fears that members may be exhibiting, it is always better to over-communicate your plan for returning back to church. Write and distribute your protocols, procedures, and policies to families early. Consider recording a video for social media or your ministry website that can be shown to children before arriving. Share with them your plan, as well as practical guidelines, such as how they are to interact with one another, distancing requirements, where sanitizers will be, etc. Your efforts will help families to have trust and peace of mind.
Phase Three: Family Worship (2-4 weeks)
Encourage your children to worship with their parents when your church resumes regular services in your facility. This time allows you to assess the comfort of your volunteers to resume ministry, as well as to evaluate if the families of your church are ready to return. Make this a special time of intergenerational worship. Ask you pastor to include children in the programming of the service or allow them to serve as ushers, musicians, on the worship team, or at prayer times (all with the proper precautions). Sing songs the children are familiar with. Provide a notes page for children to use as they follow along in the service (download sample). Work to create a culture where parents are leading their children throughout the worship service and encouraging participation (download the Shared Worship Experience Checklist). If you have been offering online options for kids, continue offering these so that they can receive ministry on their age-level. If not, consider sending home a handout or special assignment for them to complete throughout the week to receive a reward when they return the following week.
Phase Four: Limited Ministry (2-4 weeks)
Reopen your nursery and resume limited ministries to children, allowing for necessary distancing and following all cleaning protocols. Children will worship with their parents and be dismissed after congregational singing. Children should be in a large room where they are appropriately distanced. If space is limited, you should limit the number of children attending the session, perhaps by age or grade. If weather permits and distractions are at a minimum, you might teach your class outdoors. Snacks should be prepackaged with students sanitizing their hands prior to and after consuming.
Phase Five: Regular Ministry
Once your community has been given the clearance to resume closer contact, resume your ministries. However, children should maintain some distance from one another and follow you ministry’s hygiene protocols.
- Phase-In Chart: Pages Format | Word Format | PDF Format
- Basic Health and Wellness Policy: Pages Format | Word Format | PDF Format
- Cleaning Checklist: Pages Format | Word Format | PDF Format
- Cleaning Supplies Checklist: Pages Format | Word Format | PDF Format
- First Aid Supplies Checklist: Pages Format | Word Format | PDF Format
- Shared Worship Experience Checklist: PDF Format
- Sermon Notes Page: PDF Format
- LifeWay Research Covid-19 Congregational Survey: Word Format