We are all beginning to get back to a sort of normal. Churches are opening- with new guidelines and restrictions. But we are opening none the less. People have been so pent up for the last several months, that they are ready to get back to corporate worship. They want to be in church.
But old habits die hard. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, the average family only comes to church 1 out of every 3 weeks. That means kids are missing important messages about how to grow in God, and how live like Jesus. How do we help the kids stay connected, especially when they aren’t even in control of the transportation?
This is the key to helping parents as they raise their kids in the way they should go. We, as children’s leaders, are designed to assist parents in the discipleship process. (We aren’t here to do it for them.)
4 things you should do to make your follow-up more effective and part of the discipleship process…
1. Use a good database for check-in and record keeping!
I like Planning Center Online really well. This program helped me put together lists of first time guests, kids who missed that day, and birthdays. An accurate list is needed to have solid follow-up. In the smaller church, we think that since we know everyone, it’s not really needed. And it’s a total must in larger churches where you can’t know everyone because there are so many in attendance. But the truth is, if we use systems to help us remember these kinds of things, then we can use our brain for creativity and fun. We each only have so much brain capacity. Use the tools around us to make that capacity stretch.
2. Put systems in place to make follow-up part of the weekly routine.
I used the database to create lists. I had a list for first time guests, kids who missed for 3 weeks, and birthdays. I’ve since decided that I should actually have a list of kids who’ve miss just one week, and kids who’ve missed 2 weeks in a row. I then set up a system where a volunteer sent a text to parents of missing kids and first time guest each Monday, using a shared phone number ( such as a google number or 8×8 app). Then if parents replied, I took the conversation from there. The text messages for each were a “form” text and were exactly the same each week. But the conversations were organic after that. I was able to learn of families in need through this system, and it allowed me to care for the families of our church in a way that Jesus would want me to.
As far as birthdays go, we used a monthly list, created mailing labels with the birthdate in small in the corner. We, then sent a birthday card with Bible Bucks for our kids church store to each child the week of their birthday. We made sure to include kids who hadn’t attended in the last year. This was a great way to draw their family back to church since we remembered their birthday.
3. Be consistent!
Once you start this process, keep it up. The saying goes, people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. When we are consistent with the follow-up we do, people feel important, because they feel like you remember them. But let it go beyond their feelings. When you take time to actually care for people, they will know they are loved, not only by you, but by the God you serve.
4. Content is important!
We’ve all been doing online content of some form for our kids since Covid 19 hit. I would venture to say, that this habit of creating online content for your kids would not be too difficult to continue. A short video that teaches the “big idea” for the week, a worksheet or devotional for families to do together, and some review questions would be a great way to get the missing kids your teachings each week. In fact, make it worth their while to bring back the worksheet or be able to answer the review questions when they come back. Small prizes or Bible Bucks go a long way to motivate kids and their families to participate even when they didn’t make it to church that week.
So there you have it! Make sure that you are consistently following up with your kids! It’s makes a huge difference to each one.
And remember, Aim for the Mark every time, because if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. Love you all! Blessings!
Jeffrey Hunter, The Mark Ministries