Navigating Children’s Ministry Resources

By Kris Buckman

Children’s ministry as we know it has changed. As those of us in the field have had to scramble to come up with and create resources for our families to use inside the home, let me offer some things to think about and consider.

Connection counts
The most important thing to do with the kids in your ministry at this time is to simply connect with them. Let them see your face, hear your voice. You are a familiar, trusted adult in a time of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety.

I have enjoyed seeing the creativity in the “kidmin” community across the nation and have seen such generosity in those that are sharing the materials they’ve worked so hard to create with other churches. If you choose to use another ministry’s resources, just remember to add your personal touch. For example, if you choose to use a video resource from a publishing company or another church, perhaps record a brief intro with a personal message from yourself and a conclusion message. Let the kids see your face first and last. It communicates to them and their families that they can trust the material you are sharing.

If you’re emailing resources, be sure and add some information about how this relates to what you were teaching before all of this began or how you feel this resource will benefit their family. Most importantly, and if nothing else, send a handwritten note of encouragement to kids and their parents (kids love to get snail mail!) or give them a quick phone call. Parents are overwhelmed with trying to create a new normal for their kids while maintaining their jobs, navigating the new norm of simply going to the grocery store, and making sense of all the news. So, if nothing else, connect personally with your kids and families.

Consider your platform
Many resources for kids are available via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and even Tik Tok. Be mindful of this. Some families purposely choose NOT to have these social media apps on their phones or in their homes so as to lessen the exposure to their children, and rightfully so. If you are sharing content, consider embedding the video file within an email.

Also, consider your resource — are parents are just hitting play and then walking away? If so, what if the parent is distracted when the video ends and their child is now on alone on Facebook, Instagram, or whatever platform you’ve shared? I realize it’s difficult enough trying to get quality resources to families at this time without having to worry about these issues, but the safety of children is just as important now as when we were in the building. We still need to keep kids safe, especially online.

Another thought, if using Zoom to connect to your kids, make sure you’re following the safety guidelines to eliminate “zoom bombing,” (having unwanted visitors and images appear in your meeting). This link walks you through ways to protect your zoom meetings. If you’re new to Zoom, here’s a video with information to help you get started.

Parental involvement is key
For whatever resources you’re considering, make sure the parents are involved in some way. If you read the previous blog post, you’ll realize that we’ve been given an amazing opportunity to encourage parents to take up their roles as the main spiritual influences of their children’s faith. Let’s put resources into their hands which encourage them and involve them.

Choose material that encourages a time of family worship. Some material even prompts families to stop the video at certain parts and gives discussion questions for them to discuss. These types of materials help parents to step into a teaching role without needing to do any prep work or have lots of supplies. This way, parents are highly involved in the process of instructing their kids. For some families that aren’t accustomed to this kind of spiritual discipling in their home, this offers a great first step! It gives families a sense of accomplishment in leading their children through a worship experience. Who knows, when this is all over you may gain some new volunteers who are now “experienced” and confident in teaching children!

There is an abundance of wonderful professional resources available for “kidmin” leaders, created in a short time by trusted publishing companies around the world. I’m amazed at the talent and creativity as well as the generosity! Consider the above points when filtering these resources and creating your own. Involve parents as much as possible to interact with their kids or lead their kids through the resources. Think about the platform you’re using to distribute your resources, and most importantly, make a personal connection with your kids and their families. They trust you.

Below is a list of great resources for children’s ministers.

  • If you have not done so, please join our private Facebook page for those serving in children’s ministry. This is a place where many resources are shared among churches, as well as updates, and BCM/D event information. It’s also a place to find encouragement and seek advice for your ministry.
  • Additionally, we are having a VBS Forum via Zoom on Tuesday, April 21 at 2 p.m. Join us as we gather together virtually to discuss what VBS might look like this summer. This will be a time to hear from other churches, share your VBS plans, ask questions and seek advice on VBS 2020. We are all in this together! Delanee Williams from LifeWay will be joining us to give us some updates on Lifeway VBS as well as share what she’s seeing from other churches around the nation. Click this link to register and join us! After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
  • Lifeway is providing FREE access to Spring 2020 study content from Bible Studies for LifeExplore the Bible, YOU, and The Gospel Project to churches, groups, and families through May 31, 2020. Whether you normally use print or digital resources from LifeWay, this new enhanced digital curriculum experience makes discipleship during social distancing easy by allowing you to share via email or social media, access on computers, tablets, and smartphones. You can customize with your own content with discussion questions. Also, you can use the material with discipleship groups via Google Hangouts, Facebook Live, or Zoom Meetings, or you can print and deliver the material to those who cannot access digitally.

Feel free to email me if you have suggestions or questions. Use this unique opportunity to reach your kids and families for Jesus.

This is part a special “Children’s Ministry and Social Distancing” series written by Kris Buckman, who is the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware’s children’s ministry and VBS consultant.