20 Ways to Go the Second Mile for Kids, Families and Volunteers

"If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles." Matthew 5:41

We are challenged in Scripture to go the second mile for people. 

In Biblical times, if you met a Roman soldier on the road, he could command you by law to carry his equipment, bags, etc. for a mile. 

Jesus acknowledges this, but then He challenges His followers to not stop at the minimum requirement of a mile.  He encourages them to continue and carry the soldier's equipment for another mile.

Through His life and ministry, Jesus set the example of going the second mile.  He went above and beyond what was expected.  He culminated this by going all the way to the cross and giving His life for us.  

If you want to see God work in a great way in your ministry, often you will discover that it happens on the second mile.  

There is plenty of room on the second mile.  The majority of people are not willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to have a second mile ministry.  

What does the second mile look like in children's ministry?  Let's talk about some practical ways you can go the second mile for kids, families and volunteers. 

1. Have a separate check-in area for first-time guests.  Don't make them wait in line. 

2. When it is raining, meet families, who didn't bring an umbrella, in the parking lot and walk them to the doors of the church.  Hold the umbrella over them, even if it means you will get wet.

3. Save the best parking spots for first-time guest families.

4. Save the best parking spots for families who have babies or preschoolers.

5. When you are checking a guest family in, ask the child what he or she likes.

  • What is your favorite candy?
  • What sport do you like to play?  (basketball, soccer, baseball, etc.)
  • What is your favorite drink?
  • Who is your favorite super hero?

Then during church, run to a Target or Walmart, and grab something they said they like.  Bring the item(s) back to the church and give it to the child and parents when they come for pick-up.

6. Always walk new families to their classroom. Never just point.

7. Have greeters at the exit doors and thank families for attending as they leave. The first mile is having greeters before service. The second mile is having greeters after the service.

8. Give a t-shirt with your ministry logo on it to first-time guests.

9. Use your phone to shoot a quick video each week for your volunteers who teach a class, lead a small group, etc. In the video, give them a quick overview of what the crafts, activities, Bible verse, etc. will be on Sunday.  Send it to them via email or text. 

10. When a parent asks a question and you are not sure of the answer, don't say "I don't know" and leave them hanging.  Instead say, "That's a great question.  Let me find out the answer for you."

11. Have a supply of diapers that you use instead of using the diapers the parents sent.  Diapers are expensive and not having to use their own diapers at church is a financial blessing for young parents who are struggling to make ends meet.

12. Have your guest services team write thank you notes to the new families they helped check in.  Make the note personal by mentioning something specific about their family.  An example would be mentioning to a new family that you're glad they made the transition from Portland safely and look forward to getting to know them better.

A form letter printed out is the first mile.  A personal, handwritten note is the second mile.

13. Have some children who serve as buddies for new children.  They can meet them at the door and then hang out with the child for the entire service...helping new children feel welcome, recognized and comfortable.

14. Have small group leaders or teachers call each parent and ask them how they can best pray for and minister to their child.

15. Have a class attached to each milestone you celebrate.  An example - have a parent and child dedication class before you do parent and child dedication.  Here are some great milestone classes you can use for these.  Check them out at this link.

16. Keep a list of what each volunteer likes.  What kind of meal?  What kind of candy or treat?  A book they want to read?  What they do for fun?  When their birthday rolls around, give them a handwritten note and one the favorite things they listed.

17. Create a prayer calendar that guides parents in praying a prayer promise each day of the month.  Let parents know you will be partnering with them in praying for the children. 

18. Identify children who are first-time guests by placing a dot on their name tag.  This will alert your volunteers that the child is new and to go the second mile to help the child feel welcome, comfortable and valued.

19. Instead of handing the take home paper to the child,  (who will lose it before it ever makes it to the car) hand it to the parent at pick-up time and say, "Here's what we learned today.  You can use this to talk with your child about it at home."

20. Create a monthly list of what is going on in the world of kids.  Popular movies.  Video games.  Music hits. Sports players.  Give this list to your volunteers so they will have talking points with the kids.

Your turn.  What are some other ways we can go the second mile?  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.