Category Archives: Project Management Series

Resolutions for Children’s Pastor – #5 Create a Policy Manual

Strategic Planning Showing Organizational Business Solutions Or GoalsA policy manual is something every church should have, but few follow through on this. Here are some good reasons to have a policy manual.

Worker Qualifications:

If you settle for any warm body to work in your children’s ministry, it will cause you more problems than lack of workers. Set the bar higher for those who will minister to the children in your church, and you’ll attract quality people. This goes against the grain, but it works. If you don’t believe me, try it for one year. Let the congregation know only those who meet the qualifications need apply. Mention that you’re doing this because you want only the best working with the children, and see what happens.

One qualification should be that only those who are fully devoted Christ followers can work in children’s ministry. No matter what, don’t compromise on this. Someone who is a carnal Christian or who plays games with Christianity is not someone you want your students looking up to as role models.

Other qualifications can include church membership, water baptism, devotional life, screening, and mandatory teacher training.

Health:

It’s so much easier to tell a parent whose bringing a child with a 103° fever into your class that you can’t accept the child if you have a written church policy in place. Parents can handle you saying you have to follow the church policy rather than you don’t want their child there.

Safety:

Safety policies need to be in place. These include teacher/student ratios for each age group. If a teacher has too many student to handle, with a policy in place, she can alert an usher who knows what to do.

Another good policy that is needed is what to do with restroom breaks. No child should wander around the church hallways unsupervised. For nursery, you’ll want policies for how to change a diaper. Rubber gloves and a bleach spray bottle should be standard for every church nursery.

One of the most important policies to have in place is how we release children to adults. It used to be we could just let the children go when church was out. That’s no longer the case. With so many divorces and estranged parent, not to mention predators, we need to be careful how we do this.

Parents:

Attracting parents is a great reason to have a policy manual. Parents want to know you’re taking care of their children properly. They’re more likely to attend a church they trust with their children.

Church Growth:

You may think you don’t need those policies in place because you’re a small church. It’s easier to put policies in place and get church members use to them while your small. Then you’ll be ready for church growth.

Child Abuse:

Every church needs a written child abuse policy. This isn’t just a good idea. It’s vital to protect your students, your workers, and your church. Here’s some things you’ll need to include.

Screening For Workers: Every worker in your church needs to be interviewed and asked hard questions. They also need to have a background check. Every worker – even Aunt Emma who has been at your church since she was a baby. There’s a reason for that. If your church is ever sued because a worker abuses a child, they’ll ask if all workers have been screened and had a background check. If they have, the suit probably won’t hold up in court.

Report Every Sign of Abuse: Stress this to your workers. It doesn’t matter if they think the child might be accusing someone to get attention or if they think they may be overreacting. That’s not the worker’s call. Child abuse agencies investigate every case and if there’s nothing to it, they don’t mind being put to the trouble. That’s what they’re there for.

Have a policy about how to report possible abuse. That means you either have the worker make the call and report to you what happened or you have the worker come to you and you make the call. Which ever you decide to do, make sure somebody calls the proper agency.

If you don’t know where to start, Revival Fire For Kids has a complete Children’s Ministry Policy Manual download is available to buy for a small price at this link.

The Last Step in Project Management

You’ve done all the steps, you’ve worked your plan, and you’ve had a successful event. There’s one more step that will ensure your event grows and evolves into something even greater. That step is a follow-up meeting.

What went right?

What went wrong?

In what areas could we improve?

Do you have any ideas for next year?

After asking these questions, file away the answers until it’s time for the next time. Bring them out during your first dream team meeting. Then relax until the next big event.

Project Management For Children’s Pastors: Work Your Plan

Now that you have your project plan in place, it’s time to work the plan. Here’s a few things to remember.

Meet With Your Team Often: Follow up on your team members’ progress. Make sure they haven’t run into any difficulties. Communication is the key to teamwork. Remember we live in the computer age. Meeting with your team doesn’t always mean a meeting at church or in person. Use email, Facebook, and video conferencing to save time.

Tweak The Plan: You may need to find replacements for your team members, change the timeline, or find additional resources. These problems will crop up. Expect them and be ready to tweak your plan.

Time For God & Yourself: Remember your priorities. Don’t get so bogged down in the project that you neglect time with God and your family. Also take an occasional afternoon off to regroup.

Document Everything: Write down everything you do and keep great records. This will help you not have to reinvent the wheel every year when a project comes up again. Documentation will save you time in the long run.

Have Fun: Don’t forget to have fun. This is children’s ministry.

Project Management For Children’s Pastors: List Your Steps

Once you’ve defined the objective of your project, examined your resources, and built a project team, the next step is to list the step you need to complete your project on time.

List the Big Steps First: What are the major components of the project? Make a to do list with those components. It’s good to list these in chronological order, but it’s not necessary. You can always change the order later.

List the Smaller Steps: Make a to do list under each of the Big Steps. These are the things you need to do to make a big step happen. I’ll give an example. A big step for VBS would be to recruit workers. Smaller steps might include what workers you need and how you intend to recruit them.

Develop A Timeline:  Once you have your to do lists ready, make a timeline of when each large step should be done. Then add the smaller steps to the timeline. A wall calendar is a good way to make your preliminary timeline. After the timeline is complete, move each date back two weeks. No matter how great our planning, life interrupts our schedule. Unforseen events can wreck havoc on deadlines if we don’t allow enough time for interruptions.

Develop a Preliminary Plan

Assemble all your steps into a plan. What happens first? What is the next step? Which steps can go on at the same time with different resources? Who is going to do each step? How long will it take? There are many excellent software packages and templates available that can automate a lot of this detail for you. Many are free or low cost. Here are a few:

Free Excel Project Management Templates

 

Revise Timeline:

You and your project team should revise the timeline often to make sure you’re on track and to revise or tweek anything that might need more time.

Project Management Teamwork

No children’s pastor can manage large projects alone without burning out. The most effective project management resource a children’s pastor has is teamwork.

10 Effective Way to Build a Team

Teamwork is vital for large projects. But if it isn’t done right, it frustrates everyone involved. Here’s some ways to use teamwork effectively.

1. Have a dream team meeting. In the initial planning stages of a project, bring in a dream team. To start the meeting off, tell the team your focus for the event and give them permission to throw out ideas. Let them know, although all the ideas won’t be used, this is a chance to dream big. No idea is a bad one. This isn’t the time to talk about practicality or money limitations. That comes at a later meeting.

2. Your second meeting is to plan the big picture: goals, timeline, stations. During this meeting, break the project into manageable stations, and give one station to each team member.

For instance, if you’re planning VBS, you might have a game station, a craft station, a station for snacks, follow-up, decorations, etc. The more team leader you have, the more stations you can have. If you have a smaller team, you might need to give more than one station to each team leader.

During this meeting, give each leader a timeline for when you need certain things done. Also give each team leader permission to assemble his own team. Let the team leaders know what resources they have available.

3. Have regular meetings where the team leaders will give reports on their progress. These are the times where you work out problems that may arise and make sure everyone is on task.

4. Resist the urge to take over when a team leader isn’t following through or doing things the way you like. If you take over, the team leader will back off and let you do it. Instead, give the team leader suggestions on how to solve any problems.

If a team leader isn’t doing the job, you may have to sit down with him and talk about what the problem is. It may be something easily solvable, or the team leader might won’t to back out. But this is a last resort. Don’t become a micro-manager.

5. Have a follow-up meeting. After the event, have a meeting to discuss what went right and what went wrong. The idea of this meeting is to take notes on how to improve the event in the future.

6. Lavish praise. Make sure each team leader knows how much you appreciate him and the job he did, both publicly and privately.