Summer Checklist For Children’s Ministry

Summer is always a hectic time for Children’s Ministry. Here’s a checklist to help the summer go smoother.

Camp Applications: If you have church camp for your children, make sure the information and applications have been sent to parents.

Summer Teachers/Program: Summer is a time that wrecks havoc for Sunday School programs because of vacations and weekend trips. If you do something special for summer, make sure it’s in place and teachers are aware. If not, have a list of substitutes to teach when regular teachers are out of town. Remind regular teachers to give you a list of weeks they’ll be gone ASAP.

Vacation Bible School: Do you have your workers in place for VBS? Have you ordered all the materials you’ll need? Plan a meeting for workers to pass out materials and answer their questions.

Kid’s Crusades: Have you booked a date for your kid’s crusade with the children’s evangelist? Make sure you have talked to the evangelist about all the details of the crusade.

Plan Summer Children’s Church: During the summer, you’ll be busier than normal and will be tempted to skimp on Children’s Church planning. You can avoid this by planning the whole summer program ahead of time.

Check Your Supplies:  If you haven’t already done so, this is a good time to check and organize the supplies you’ll need for the summer.

 While nothing can keep the summer from overwhelming even the most organized Children’s Pastor, the more you pre-plan for the weeks ahead, the better prepared you’ll be.

The Christmas Program Elephant

The old joke says “How do you eat an elephant?” Of course, the answer is one bite at a time. For children’s pastors, that’s much the same way to plan a Christmas program. Christmas programs are massive undertakings that are better digested one bite at a time.

The first thing you should do is divide the program up in sections. Find workers to take on each of these sections. You don’t have to use people who normally work in children’s ministry. For instance, the person in charge of costumes doesn’t have to be called to minister to children, but she does have to know how to sew. Find somebody who can take care of each area.

Here’s some ways you might divide up your program into bite size pieces.

Choir Director: The choir director teaches the children the songs. You might contact your music director for an idea of who to use.
Drama Director: The drama director is in charge of teaching the children the speaking parts.
Media Technician: Don’t wait until the last minute to find someone to do the sound, power point, sound effects, and lighting. Have someone from the sound and media department of your church be in charge of this.
Costumes: Choose someone to make, buy, or design costumes for your play. Make sure this person knows exactly what you’re looking for.
Set Design: Look for a creative person who knows how to draw. This person will be in charge of the set design and decorations.
Props: Find a person whose only job is to find the props needed for the play and have them ready for rehearsals and performances. This will take a big load off of you.
Party: If you have a dress rehearsal party or cast party, assign someone else to make the plans and provide the refreshments.
Backstage Director: This person will be in charge of finding people to help the children in their costumes, get them where they need to be when they need to be there, feeding lines to children from the side stage, and keeping the children occupied while they are waiting for the program to begin. You could have more than one person in charge of these different areas.
Stage Director: The stage director is in charge of deciding where the children will stand while they’re doing their parts, where the choir will stand, and where and when everyone will come in. This person will also work with the media director to make sure the children have the right microphones at the right time.
For a Christmas program succeed, it needs to be a team effort.

Planning Systems

Summer is almost gone, and the new school year is fast approaching fast, so during the month of August, we’ll be talking about planning. Planning is one of the most vital parts of every effective children’s ministry. Without it, even the most talented and spiritual children’s pastors will fail. A planning system is the first step.

Every children’s pastor should have a planning system. There are many planning systems to choose from. There are computer programs, various planning notebooks, apps for smart phones and tablets, and good old-fashioned spiral notebooks and legal pads. The important thing is to choose a system that is easy to use and works for you.

These are the items every good planning system should have:

Monthly Calendar: Try not to have a number of calendars floating around for church, home, and other activities. Your home, church, and work calendars need to be combined. You can use color coding to categorize events. But if you don’t combine your calendars, it can make things confusing, and you will end up forgetting something because it was in the other calendar.

One way around having multiple calendars is to computerize your calendar and have it synced on all of your devices. Windows Live, Google Calendars, Dropbox, and I-cloud are all easy to use and set up. If you need instructions, just type your questions in your search engine for step by step directions.

If you’re old school and use paper calendars, make sure you have one main calendar that records all your events. That calendar will have to be portable so you can take it with you wherever you go.

To Do or Task List: Use a monthly, weekly, or daily to do list to remind you of tasks you need done. Be sure to list if you are delegating any of these tasks and need to follow-up and with whom. You can use a task list app on your smart phone or tablet, but be sure to sync it to all your devices. This works well for delegating because you can send email or text reminders.

Address/Contact List: Don’t just list personal contacts. Keep a list of children’s workers, students in your ministry, and businesses that have resources you may need. Communication with email, texting, and Facebook has never been easier.

Important Personal Info: This would be birth dates, medical insurance, tax ID number for the church, and other important information you might need. OneNote or Pages are two great programs to keep all information like this stored in one place.

Schedule: This can be weekly or daily depending on your needs. Schedule like activities together. For instance, any phone calls you need to make could all be made at the same time. Also errands that need to be run, if all done at once, will take less time.

Project Manager: Any large project you have should have a project timeline, staff list, and budget. This will save you time in the long run. After you create your timeline, add events to your calendar and to do lists.

File Program: You need a program where you can store all the information you need. In the past, a filing cabinet would be used, but now OneNote and Pages does the work of a filing cabinet and is easier to use.

Planning may seem like a lot of work until you’re used to doing it. But in the long run, it will save you time and energy and keep you focused on ministry goals. Throughout the month, I’ll review ways to do this and apps and programs that will help.