Double Your Children's Ministry With These 5 Tips

Growth in our children's ministry.  It's something we all want to see happen.

And we know Jesus wants it to happen as well.  He tells us this in Luke 14.

Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.

The bottom line is this - you can't reach and disciple empty seats.

Over the years, I have seen God double many of the children's ministries that I have led. 

Here are 5 tips that you can use to double your children's ministry. 

Emphasize inviting.  Every single week talk about inviting your friends to church.  Have an empty chair up front and ask the kids who they know that should be in that chair. 

Have invite cards that kids can use to invite their friends.  Pass them out to everyone.  But there is another approach you can do at least once a month.  Instead of giving everyone an invite card, ask the kids to raise their hand if they have the name of a specific person they can invite.  

Pick out 5 kids who have their hand raised.  Bring them up front.  Hand them a single invite card and then have everyone pray with them for the person they are going to invite.  Each time I did this, at least one of the five kids would bring a guest with them to church the next weekend. 

I remember one Easter, we had a lady show up for church for the first time.  When asked who invited her, she told us she was a crossing guard for a local elementary school.  While waiting to cross, one of the children handed her an Easter invite card and asked her to come.

Kids can reach people if we will give them the tools and motivation to do so.  

Give guest families a great first experience.  If a family has a subpar experience on their first visit, the chances of them returning is slim to none.  Work hard to give them an experience that exceeds their expectations.  This includes providing them with great parking, a friendly welcome, an easy check-in experience and a great service. 

One thing you can do to enhance guests' first visit is to have a guest reception for guest kids and their families.  Invite them to a reception when they are checking in before service.  Then after service, have a private room where they can go to meet 2 to 3 of the key families in your ministry.  Spend a few minutes talking with the new families and getting to know them. Make it all about them. Then share with them how the ministry has helped your family and thank them for coming.  Provide snacks and drinks for them. 

Double your return rate.  The national average for seeing guest families return is about 7%.  A ministry that can do better than 7% will grow.   I was able to see our return rate climb to over 30%.  How did we accomplish this?  As stated above, it started by giving guests a great first experience.  But then we took one more step that helped us go way beyond just 7%.  

We offered a free-shirt for every guest who came back for a second visit.  It was a financial investment, but it was well worth it.  Each week, we saw guests come back and get a t-shirt.  The cool part was also this - many of them wore the t-shirts to school which was great publicity for the ministry. 

Intentional follow-up.  As I mentioned above, seeing guests return starts by giving them a great experience on their first visit.  But there are some things you can do to encourage guests to return. 

A handwritten postcard to the parents and to the child says a lot.  In a time of everything being digital, a handwritten postcard really stands out. And to take the impact of the postcard to a new level - mention something specific that you found out about the guest family.  An example would be a new family that just moved into your area from Oregon. In the handwritten note, mention their coming from Oregon - this lets the family know that you know something about them specifically and they are not just another number that you sent a quick email template to.

Ratios. If your ministry doubled in the next 6 months, would you have enough volunteers in place to accommodate the growth?  Growth cannot be sustained without a proper ratio of volunteers to children. It is crucial that you build your volunteer team if you want to see your ministry grow.   

Focus on these 5 areas and I believe you will see your ministry grow.  

One last thing.  The most important thing.  Take these 5 tips and make them matters of prayer.  God is the one who makes things grow.  Work like everything depends on you and pray like everything depends on God....because it does.  

It takes work and prayer to see a ministry grow. 

Praying with you for a great harvest.