HOW TO RETAIN VISITORS. PT. 2 (KIDS)
We are breaking down part 2 of “how to retain visitors” and you can check out part one here. The reality is if we are not retaining a high percentage of our visitors then all our marketing efforts are in vain! I get Pastors all the time saying “we just got to get the word out on our church so people know we exist”. The greatest way to do that is word of mouth and the only way people are going to talk about your church is if they enjoyed their experience. When you retain visitors you are expanding your platform which leads to more word of mouth advertising.
The second part of this blog series I want to talk about is your Kids Ministry. Now I am not a Kids ministry expert, but I do understand its immense value and I am going to talk about the Kids Ministry through the lens of a Pastor.
So here is 5 important understandings about Kids Ministry:
1. Should be your first priority.
I personally, this may just be me, feel like this should be your first hire and definitely an area you need to get right out of the gate. The reality is a parent may love the worship experience, but if their kids hate their experience they are not coming back to your church. You can have the best worship and the best preaching, but if your kids ministry is falling apart your church is falling apart.
As Pastors we must understand the importance of having an out of this world Kids ministry and to do so we need to staff it properly and fund it properly. Find a leader who is a team builder, who is solution-oriented, and someone who is fun and enjoyable. Don’t settle and don’t just fill a hole. That may mean that other staff members may need to fill the role until you find someone that has the potential of growth to really run with the program. You also need to understand that a great Kids ministry also needs to be funded properly. Honor your families by providing the kids program with the resources they need.
2. We are not babysitting, but building leaders.
So many times churches can look at kids ministry as a place to put a few bodies to watch the kids until the adults are done with their thing. That is absolutely the last thing kids ministry is. As adults we try to tell ourselves that kids don’t have real problems yet the majority of adults are dealing with pains they experienced in their childhood. As a church it is our mission to disciple our young people and teach them to walk freely into the person God has created them to be. We have the privilege to radically change our communities because if our Kids walk in their God-given purpose then literally the future of our cities are changed for Jesus. That is why I believe every believer is called to kids ministry because every believe is called to our families and our communities!
I love the way our Children’s pastors structure our kids services to reflect what we do in our adult worship services. Our kids worship is comprised mostly of songs we do in our adult services so parents and kids are both singing the same worship songs. Our Children’s pastors work hard at aligning the topic of my message with the topic they teach in their services. Lastly and probably my favorite thing they do is at the end of their lessons they break off into small groups for a time of discussion and there they plug in the older students to help lead those discussions to the younger kids.
3. Communicate to the parents.
Parents love hearing about their kids and seeing what their kids doing! We live in a great day and age where there are so many ways to communicate what we are doing on Sundays and helping parents to get involved with their kids throughout the week. Social media is one of our favorite avenues through our main Kids Facebook page and also private parent only pages that we can post lessons, songs, games, activities, and pictures of the kiddos during church. Be active and post throughout the week to keep parents informed, but also peak the interest of people who have yet to come to your church.
Disclaimer: make sure you have permission from a guardian before you post any pictures of a miner online.
4. Security. Security. Security.
I can’t interject this enough parents are not going to trust you with their kids if they feel like security is not a priority to your church. You need to make sure you have a secure and efficient check in and check out system where kids are only picked up with matching tickets and by guardians that are in the system. You need to make sure no adult is allowed in the kids room without a background check or they need to be in the company of a kids ministry worker. Also it’s a great idea to position a security team at entrances and exits of your kids facilities. Parents notice when you take the safety of their children serious and it allows them to drop their guards so they can enjoy their worship experience in the adult service.
5. Have Fun!
Don’t take yourself to serious and get the children involved. Kids want to have fun! Laugh, dance, worship, play games…Have a blast!
To many churches look at kids ministry as an afterthought when it should be our first thought. If you make your kids ministry a priority a put the right staff in place, financially invest in it, and put in the time you will see your church grow and most importantly your young people becoming the world changers God created them to be!