Let Kids Call the Shots

Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends,” which premieres Friday on Disney Junior and Disney Channel, is Marvel’s first full-length series aimed at the preschool demographic. 
And it's going to be successful.  How do I know?  Because they are doing something very smart.  They are letting preschoolers call the shots.
They have organized kids' focus groups and it has proven to be invaluable.   
Marvel's writers and creative crew meets with a group of kids on a regular basis.  This enables them to hear firsthand from kids about what is working and what is not working.  It also is very beneficial to learn about the characters.  Many of the Marvel writers say they learn things from the kids in the focus groups.  Often the kids know more about the characters than the producers do.
This is a wise thing to do.  Who better to know how the show will do than the people (preschoolers) who it is being made for? 

For years, I have encouraged children's ministries to use focus groups. Bring in a group of kids and ask them to identify what they like and don't like about your current program, service, class, etc.  

Putting together a kids' focus group for your ministry is one of the best things you can do if you want your ministry to grow, thrive and stay relevant for today's kids. 

If major kids' companies and producers of kids shows like Marvel, Blue's Clues, Disney and Nickelodeon use kids' feedback to improve, then surely we need to do the same as well. 
Kids influence what food their parents will buy, where they will go on vacation, what they will watch at the movie theater, where they will eat, etc.  Why do you think they put the playgrounds in at McDonald's?  It's not the food for parents that is drawing families in.  It's the kids' meals and playground that causes them to pull into McDonald's.
When it comes to reaching families with children, kids again call the shots.  One of the biggest reasons families pick a church is because of what they have for kids.  Dad and mom may really enjoy the services, but if their kids have a frown on their face after church, then their parents will look for another church that has an awesome kids' ministry.  
So...how often do you let the kids call the shots?  How are you learning from kids?  How are you connecting with kids for valuable feedback?  How many of your guests are returning because the kids' loved the service? 
As a children's pastor, I would let the kids vote online about which praise and worship songs they would like to sing at the upcoming service.  They loved getting to vote on this and the choices it gave them.  
Let the kids call the shots.  Your ministry will be better because of it.