Category Archives: Planning

7 Vital New Years Resolutions for Children’s Pastors

Most children’s pastors I know make resolutions to be more organized, the have more events, to be more productive, etc. But here’s some vital resolutions most children’s pastors neglect to make.

Spend time with God that has nothing to do with your ministry. Children’s pastors work hard to find a word from God every week for their ministry. But your ministry isn’t the only part of you God wants to deal with. Resolve to spend time with God this year just to be with Him.

Take time off. If you’re constantly working harder at children’s ministry and never taking time to relax, you will get burned out. Even Jesus took time away from ministry.

Get healthy. Exercise. Eat Right. Get plenty of sleep. Even small steps toward getting healthy will give you the energy you need to effectively do ministry.

Spend time with your family. Have date nights with your spouse that nobody can interrupt. Schedule family nights. Your family is your most important ministry.

Decide what events to cut. You don’t have to have children’s ministry events every month. Decide which ones are effective, and cancel the rest.

Take time to dream big. Don’t get in the rut of always doing Children’s Ministry the same way. Set aside time for you and your team to dream up new ways of doing ministry.

Mentor others to take your place. The most effective leaders are those who duplicate themselves. Train up leaders to do what you do so you can accomplish more.

Christmas Program Rehearsals and Cast Parties

One important aspect of planning an effective Children’s Ministry Christmas Program is having a good rehearsal schedule. A good rehearsal schedule won’t tire the kids and parents but will have enough practices to make sure the children are comfortable with their parts.

Weekly Practices: These practices are for every child in the program. They should start no later than the beginning of October. Some churches start practices in September. During most of the practices, the choir director should teach the songs everyone sings. If there are any lines that everyone shouts out, the drama director should teach these. The last four to six weekly practices should run through the entire program so the children have a feel for what to expect and when they sing each song. Depending on what’s best for your church, you could have these practices during Children’s Church, midweek class, after church or one evening a week. These practices should be an hour long.

Soloist Practices: Every child who sings a solo or duet should get together at least two or three times with someone who knows music (doesn’t have to be the choir director, but it can) to go over his or her solo. These practices don’t have to be long. They can be for fifteen minutes before or after church.

Drama Practices: These practices are for children who have speaking parts in the program. The children should have a deadline when they have their parts memorized. After they’ve memorized their parts, they should practice at least once a week. The practices should only last a half hour to an hour. If they’re any longer, the children will become bored.

Dress Rehearsal: There should be two dress rehearsals, one a week before the program, and one the day before. The rehearsal on the day before should be mandatory for everyone and should include scenery and props. It is important to have sound and light technicians at these practices.

Cast Party: The final countdown for the Christmas program has begun. How will you get the parents to bring the children to the final dress rehearsal? Have a party for the children after dress rehearsal. You could take them skating, sled riding, or Christmas Caroling. Have pizza or Christmas cookies and hot chocolate for snacks. Remind the parents and children that only those attending dress rehearsal can go to the party. Children are as stressed as children’s workers during rehearsals. A party will allow the children to let out some of that stress before the play. It will also give them the opportunity to bond with their Christian friends.

Written Schedule: Make sure each parent gets a copy of the schedule of practices in writing. You also might want to send home reminders or call the parents to remind them of special practices and dress rehearsals. Let each parent know what you expect from them. Also, if you have a date children need to learn their parts by, let the parents know this. Be flexible, but have guidelines in place for missed practices. The more you communicate with the parents, the easier it will be to get the children to practices.

Rehearsal Supplies: Each parent (not child) should receive supplies to help the child practice at home including a script, songs, CD or DVD with the play, and costume and prop requirements. The sooner the parent receives these supplies the better.

Organization is the key to an effective Children’s Ministry Christmas Program.

How to Make a Program Outline

Strategic Planning Showing Organizational Business Solutions Or GoalsEvery children’s church needs a program outline to be effective. Making a program outline is easy if you know how, but it can drive you insane if you don’t. Here are the steps to making a program outline.

1. Use a word processing program such as Microsoft Word. Some people attempt to use data programs with tables such as Microsoft Excel, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It makes things more complicated.

2. At the top of the page, list date, name of lesson, and memory verse.

3. Divide your page into 5 columns. Create columns for Word 2007 or 2010 using the Page Layout tab. Here’s a link if you can’t figure it out.

4. Label the columns.

  • First column labeled media name. If you use a song or a power point slide for a game, list the name of the media here.
  • Second column labeled track #. If you use a presentation software such as Easy Worship, list the number on the list for your presentation. If you use a DVD or CD, list the track number.
  • Third column labeled resources. This will show what resources you are using. It could be EW for Easy Worship, puppets, object lesson supplies, etc.
  • Fourth column labeled comments. This is where you list what you will be doing. For example: games, object lesson, skit, etc.
  • Fifth column labeled worker. Since you will hand out a copy of the program outline to each worker, the worker will know when he is supposed to do what.

5. After you set up your columns, add things you would normally do in a service to make things easier when you fill out the program outline. You might list opening, welcome, games, verse, praise and worship, offering, etc.

6. At the bottom of the page, delete column and list special instructions and supplies needed. This will make things easier when you gather supplies for the day. You might also want to record attendance and offering here.

7. Finally on the back of each program outline, after each service, write notes about what went right and what went wrong. These notes will help you evaluate your service.

Below you will find a generic program outline I use. Feel free to download it and change it to fit your children’s ministry.

Blank Program Outline

How Checklists Can Save Your Sanity?

The questionnaireMerriman Webster Dictionary describe checklist as “a list of things that needs to be done”. We all have to do lists we’d like to forget, but what I’m talking about is the kind of checklist that will save your sanity.

Creating checklists for every area of your ministry is a time saver. No, it really is. Imagine if you have an event you do every year, and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to make a to do list for it. Create a checklist for it, then pull it out every year to see what needs done.

But checklists can be used for more than yearly events. You can use checklists for anything that needs done in children’s ministry. Checklists can be created for what needs to be done to set up children’s church, tear down children’s church, what teacher positions you need filled, and agendas for meetings. The vast array of checklist possibilities are endless. You’ll never be overwhelmed with items you forgot to do again.

Checklists can help you find workers. When somebody is willing to help in children’s church, it makes it so much easier for them and for you if you can hand them a checklist of things you need done. Workers won’t be frustrated because they don’t know what you expect. They’ll have a list in hand.

Checklists will help if you’re ever in a situation where you can’t be there. Imagine you’re sick, or you have a sick child, or you were just in a traffic accident. These incidents could bring most children’s ministries to a halt. But if you have a notebook of checklists that need done or how to do certain needed tasks, ministry can continue. Your pastor or assistant can pass the checklists along to the necessary people.

Try these checklists for a few months, and you’ll be amazed how they can regain your sanity:

  • Setting up for children’s church
  • Tearing down children’s church
  • Supplies needed for children’s church
  • Program Outline for children’s church
  • Lessons for the next 6 months
  • Checklist for VBS
  • Checklist for Fun Sundays
  • Teacher Meeting Agenda Checklist
  • Checklist for Christmas Program
  • Checklist for Outreach Programs
  • Checklist for Teacher Training

Leave a comment with some of your ideas for checklists.

Leadership Styles to Avoid – the Unorganized Leader

 

Time For Leadership Message Representing Management And AchievementOne of the hardest leadership styles to deal with, yet one of the easiest to correct, is the unorganized leader. This is the leader who is in a hurry but never gets things done. He is the leader who gives you a project to do but doesn’t give you the materials you need to do that project until the last minute. She is the leader who makes her poor planning your emergencies. We all have a little of this in us, but how do we fix it?

The Unorganized Leader

Strategic Planning Showing Organizational Business Solutions Or GoalsTake time each week to plan. Most people who want to become organized never take the time they need to plan because they think they don’t have time. You don’t have time not to plan. Decide what things you need to get done this week. Then go through and decide which are important and which can be delegated. Remember when you make this list to make time for the important, not only the urgent.

Schedule your time. Plan chunks of time to do certain things. For instance, morning might be your most productive time. Don’t plan meetings or take phone calls in the morning. Use that time to plan your day and tackle your to do list. If emergencies come up, and they will, that take you away from your schedule, get back to it as soon as you can. Remember that if you schedule your time, you’ll get more done, even if your sidetracked at times. If you don’t schedule your time, you’ll waste a lot of it.

Priority Rubber Stamp Shows Urgent Rush DeliveryLearn organizational and project management skills. Schedule time in your week to work on these skills and to read leadership and organizational books.

Learn to multitask. Multitasking is not doing a bunch of different things at the same time. Multitasking is learning to have different projects to work on in the same time period. For instance, as a children’s pastor, you may be in the beginning stages of planning a Christmas program. At the same time, you’ve just finished up a back to school activity and are in full swing for your Harvest party. Then there’s VBS on the back burning. You’re starting to look at VBS materials for next summer. If you schedule correctly, you can plan times to work on each of these projects throughout the week. Of course, the Harvest party and Christmas program will take most of your time, but by devoting time to upcoming projects, you won’t feel under the gun when that event gets closer.

Order Or Chaos Keys Showing Either Organized Or UnorganizedProject Management 101: The first tool in project management is to make a timeline for each event you have planned. Decide what you need to do or delegate and when. Then move everything back at least three weeks to avoid unexpected surprises. You’ll be amazed how organized you’ll become by doing this.

Work with your pastor. Let him know what you’re working on. If he asks you to do another task and you don’t have time to do it right away, let him know, and ask him when he needs it done. It may be that you were dropping everything to do what your pastor wanted when there are some things he is willing to wait for.

Remember that people are more important than what you have to do. You’ve planned an entire day to work on an important project when a parent comes in concerned about her child. The work can wait. The parent can’t. This is real ministry.

Pray Computer Keys Showing Worship And ReligionPray before you start you’re day. God knows what we need to do, and He will give us the wisdom and direction to do if we start by giving Him our day.