We are created and wired for connection with God and with others…so finding ourselves less connected in the world of “social” or “physical” distancing is difficult. As we serve our churches, families and children, we desire to provide new ways for relationship and connection. We also believe it is still important to practice pastoral presence as we care for families and children. Here are five ideas to create space for relationships to grow and for connection with others, even when we are not physically together.
Set aside time to connect. As children’s ministry leaders, spending time with children is an enormous part of our job! Use the time that you would normally spend leading children’s programming (such as Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings) as designated time to connect with children.
Check-in regularly. Consider sending out a simple check-in form on a certain day each week. Include questions such as: How are you feeling this week? What is a God sighting from this week? How can I pray for you? Encourage parents to fill out the form with their children. This will create a starting point for parents to check in with their kids as well. Google Forms is a great, free resource to create a check-in form.
Stay visible to the kids. Being able to see their children’s ministry leader will help kids feel connected to their church. Create a sustainable way for kids to see you, such as a short weekly video upload. If you are using a check-in form, embed a video of yourself asking the questions, and telling kids that you love them and miss them.
Make it personal. Consider ways you might be able to personalize your messages to children. Depending on the size of your church, consider making a 30-second video to send to each family. If this seems too overwhelming, perhaps you can send a personalized video message to families in each particular grade level. Video calls, phone calls and texts are all great ways to stay connected with families.
Help connect volunteers with kids. You aren’t the only one who cares about your church’s kids! As appropriate, make family contact information available to Sunday school teachers, small group leaders and other children’s ministry volunteers, so they can reach out, too!
Remember, you are not alone! God is with you and with the families that you serve, and God will see us through. You are loved, and you are called. Thank you for loving God’s children through this most difficult time!
These strategies were developed by the pre-launch Tennessee Western Kentucky Conference Children’s Ministry Team and published April 2, 2020 on the Tennessee Conference website.