Apr 23, 2012

Children's Ministry Fail...Ever Had One?

Here's a classic example of a fail with kids.  I don't blame the kids for freaking out.  To me, the panda...and the man...are scary looking.


But....before I start pointing fingers...I have to admit I've had my share of Children's Ministry fails as well.  At one of my first summer camps, I came up with an idea for a "great" game that I thought the kids would love.  We would have a water balloon catching contest.  I would launch the water balloons and we would see who could catch them...from a 100 yards away!

The first kid up caught the water balloon alright...right in the chest.  It knocked him down and left a big bruise on is chest.  What was I thinking?  I should have known it would be too much force from that far away.

We all have fails...it's going to happen.  But we can significantly reduce the number.  Here's a few tips on how to cut down the fails.
  • Try it out ahead of time.  Always try it out privately before you show it publicly.  Walk through that game and make sure it will function.  Test that object lesson and make sure it works.  Play that video and make sure it is working.
  • Think through all the potential problems and eliminate them ahead of time.  Think of everything that could go wrong and fix it before it happens.
  • Make sure it's age appropriate.  Some things that work with younger children will not work with older children and visa versa.
  • Learn from your fails.  Evaluate what went wrong and take steps to ensure it doesn't happen again.
    What's a Children's Ministry fail you've had?  Share your story in the comment section below so we can know we're not alone!

    4 comments:

    At a summer camp we played 4 way steal the bacon. A massive game with 30 something kids on each of the four sides. There were 4 sticks (bacon) and we call out two numbers at a time sending a max of eight kids into the fray at a time. It worked so well we decided to let the counselers play a round or two. It worked great till we called out every number. Our counselers we're not only sold out for Jesus but for that stick of bacon too. At least 24 adult counselers collided in the center leaving many with bruises and a few bloody noses. Ugh I still cringe when I think back. Great reminder to think before you send others to leap.

    So Easter was coming up this year so of course we were breaking from our Bible stories to take a couple of Sunday's to teach on Palm Sunday and Easter stuff. On palm Sunday we had a powerpoint fromthe year before with some fun facts and pictures and the 1st - 3rd graders just about ate me alive that day. We had some parents hanging out with us, one kid crying because of the microphone being too loud, an adult helper who got up and scolded the kids. I thought everything went way off course for the day and learned that the way we have been teaching is definitely what we need to stick with each week.

    One cool thing was that the mom who was in the room observing and left with her husband, baby and student from the class early let me know later on that she thought the lesson was well done they just left because her baby was getting fussy and they had already been to one service that day.

    Sometimes when we think we are failing it is merely because of our self-perception of the situation not what is actually going on with the kids.

    Thanks for sharing Nathan. Great story. God definitely works even when we don't realize He is.

    So true Nathan... I am really good at being really bad at reading others thoughts and facial expressions when I feel the weekend service has not gone as I expected. Some of the most meaningful feedback from parents have come from weekends where my confidence was the lowest.

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