It’s meeting time with your kids again — are your palms starting to get sweaty? Is your group full of boisterous kids that sat quietly all day long at school, and are now ready to get out all that pent-up energy? Or maybe you, and possibly one other hearty soul, are facing the children alone.
Let’s put those sweaty palms to work putting a plan in place that will not only help you have the best experience possible, but also promote spiritual growth for others in your church body.
Recruit some volunteers. Each group needs at least two adults in a classroom for safety and security reasons. Beyond that, a good ratio is one adult for every eight children. You’ll also want to have some extra volunteers that are trained and available for times when someone is out sick or on vacation. Plan in advance how you will manage the group when multiple leaders will be absent. Be prepared to implement those plans when necessary (i.e., combine groups, scrap the curriculum plan in favor of a recreation or movie night, etc.). (Be sure to follow your church’s guidelines for the number of adults required per classroom and screening policies for adults working with children.)
Make sure your volunteers know what is expected of them before each session and how they can best help you. For instance, if you have a mixed-age group, have someone dedicated to helping younger children with crafts or reading. Once you have established your routine, it’s time to help your volunteers grow!
Help your volunteers discover their strengths and weaknesses. Maybe you have volunteers who were brought up in missions discipleship groups and understand what is expected regarding the curriculum. Or perhaps you have teenagers and college students who are preparing for ministry or simply seeking ways to serve in their local church. Encourage them to be more than an extra body in the classroom — give them a chance to teach and lead.
Design a plan of action that equips and enables volunteers to build their leadership skills and abilities and inspires them to reach their full potential in the classroom. Inspire these individuals to reach their fullest potential. They will grow in their confidence in leadership, and you will see their spiritual gifts used fully for the glory of God.
Missions discipleship is first and foremost about investing in the children God has placed in your ministry and teaching them how to live a life on mission for God. It is also about giving the body of Christ opportunities to practice living a life on mission in the place where God has called them — your classroom, your church, your community!
by Bill Halladay