Much to consider before restarting children and student ministries


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Now that many Kentucky Baptist churches have begun to reopen it’s time to begin considering how and when to re-engage children’s ministries.

There is not a simple one-size-fits-all solution says Matt Flanagan, the children and student ministry consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

“We recognize there’s going to be a gap between when we begin gathering for worship and when we reintroduce our age-graded programs,” Flanagan said. “Two important considerations: How to consider continue online ministries for families and what adjustments to churches need to make. The biggest issue is what are the necessary steps to increase a safe and meaningful place.”

Flanagan said a lot of families will make a decision on church based on the perceived safety of the children’s ministry activities.

“With the same diversity we are seeing our churches choose to open we see similar, if not more significant, for children’s ministries,” he said. “Churches moving ahead of state recommendations need to do their due diligence. It’s important for churches to have a phasing-in process of ministries. Allow the church to grow.”

Improved efforts to do children’s ministries online have made a difference, Flanagan said, and churches should keep those programs going.

Sunday mornings are going to look different for a while with the inability to have children’s church and Sunday school, having one way in and one way out, people wearing masks and other coronavirus-related precautions.

Families will be sitting together as units, meaning teenagers won’t be huddled with their friends from the youth group.

“It’s going to be different for everyone, certainly for a season,” Flanagan said. “I would encourage older members of the church to show patience in having younger kids in the worship center. There will be some giggly-ness and some noise.”

Flanagan offered some good resources for churches to explore while making plans to bring children ministries back.

--The Baptist General Convention of Texas provides information on helping prepare parents and teachers for communicating about masks to preschoolers. Click HERE.

--A video from the National WMU called “Don’t Fear the Mask.”  It is made for preschoolers to watch to prepare them for the idea of people wearing masks.  The content is good and it may spur an idea for you to create a similar video for your people with your church leaders. 

--LifeWay is releasing an eBook on reentry for Children’s Ministry that briefly addresses social and emotional impacts on children.  Click HERE to download the eBook.


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