10 Tips to Grow Your Children's Ministry

God wants your children's ministry to grow.

"Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.'" Luke 14

Let's look at some tips that can help your children's ministry grow. 

Tip #1 - Give guest kids and families a great first experience.  A first impression is a lasting impression.  If you want to see guests return, then you need to meet or even exceed their expectations.  Their first impression will be the sum of their experience with your greeter team, check-in process and teachers.  Pay close attention to these areas and make sure they are done with excellence.

Tip #2 - Guest return ratio.  The national average for guests who return for a second visit is 7%.  This obviously means only 7 out of a 100 guests will return.  Not a great ratio if you want to grow.  Think about how you can increase the 7% return rate.  One thing that I have seen work is offering guests a free gift on their second visit.  I decided to make that gift a T-shirt with our kids' ministry logo on it.  When we did this, our return rate jumped to 38%. 

Tip #3 - Make sure guest families take everything personal.  Not in a bad sense.  Make their experience as personal as you can.  This means learning and saying their names.  Finding out about their interests.  Asking about their family.  They must feel comfortable, known and made to feel at home.

Tip #4 - Help people get connected relationally.  Introduce them to people they can become friends with.  This means you should have people from every stage of life that they can connect with.  A young couple wants to connect with other young couples.  If a church only has senior adults, it will have a hard time attracting young couples. If no one in the church has kids still at home, it will be challenging for them to attract families who have children living at home. 

A church that is growing will have all generations of people attending and helping new families get connected relationally.  

Tip #5 - Encourage people to invite their friends, neighbors, schoolmates, co-workers, teammates, and other connections they have with people who do not attend church.  If you see your children's ministry start to grow, it will be because the children and families begin inviting and bringing people to church.  Teach your church to invest in building relationships with people who don't attend church.  Invest and then invite.  If the entire church catches hold of this, your children's ministry will begin to grow.

Tip #6 - Make sure your ratios are in order.  If you have 30 preschoolers in a room with only 2 volunteers, you are going to have a hard time growing.  Follow these ratios if you want to grow. This may mean splitting some classes.

  • Infants - 1 to 2
  • Crawlers - 1 to 3
  • Toddlers - 1 to 4
  • 2-year-olds - 1 to 4
  • 3-year-olds - 1 to 6-8
  • 4-year-olds - 1 to 8
  • 5 year-olds through 5th grade - 1 to 8

Tip #7 - Adequate room to grow.  In order to grow, you need to have no areas that are more than 85% full.  This includes the adult worship auditorium and your children's ministry areas.  Once you hit 85% you will be capped.  When this happens you will need to start another service or create more space.

Tip #8 - Make it fun.  Church should be an environment that kids love to attend.  Doctrine can be taught in a fun way.  Apologetics can be taught in a happy environment.  You don't have to sacrifice one for the other.  This is not about what you teach.  It's about how you teach.  

Create environments that kids get so excited to attend that they are dragging their parents to church.  If the opposite is true, you will have a hard time getting kids excited about attending a "boring" environment. Their parents may drag them to church, but as they get older and can decide for themselves, the opposite of growth will happen...they will check out.

Tip #9 - Prayer.  God is the one who grows a church.  We are to prepare the soil and then watch as God brings the increase.  You should work like everything depends on you and pray like everything depends upon God...because it does.

"I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work."  I Corinthians 3:6-8 

Pray for your community.  Pray for your schools.  Pray for your neighbors.  Pray for your city.  Pray for those you work with.  Remember...

Nothing of eternal value happens without prayer.  And that includes growing a children's ministry.

Tip #10 - Grow your volunteer team.  If you want to grow, you must be prepared for the growth by having a solid volunteer team in place.  Jesus emphasizes this in Matthew 9:38. 

"So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

Pray and work hard to increase your volunteer team.  God will see this and send you a harvest of children and families.  I have personally seen this happen time and time again.  We prayed and prepared and God grew the ministry exponentially with thousands of new children.

Pray. Believe God's promises. Work hard to create exciting environments that kids love to attend. Align your vision with God's vision.  Care what God cares about...people who don't know Him. 

Your children's ministry can grow.  That is my prayer for you and your ministry today.

p.s. My book "Lead Well in Children's Ministry" has lots of more tips on how to build and lead a great children and family ministry.  You can get it at this link.