What do you do when children do not want to leave their parents in the sanctuary? How long will a church guest stay if their child is afraid? Shy children or children unaccustomed to church may resist your pleas to attend children’s church. Besides being friendly and an innate ability to speak “kid,” not every child is going to come easily. Not to worry, the resourceful children’s pastor has it under control. Try this simple gift idea to help kids church visitors feel more comfortable.
Here is a perfect example of using a shepherd’s tools to wrangle in that one little sheep that refuses to walk through the gate. While it may be easier to minister to all your sheep while they are in one room, it is not always that easy. For this child or children, take your ministry to where they are. Carve out small slices of time to spend with them to do some relationship building and use a visitor’s pack. Here is what to put in a church visitor’s pack. You can find most of this stuff during bank holiday sales for cheap.
Container – Pick a colorful folder with pockets or try something unusual like a small pizza box. Search the aisles of your local dollar store to find paper containers in unusual shapes.
Crayons – Buy large boxes of crayons. Place three colors each in small plastic storage bags. These go inside the container.
Bookmarks – Tuck in a blank bookmark with a Bible theme. Kids can color in the bookmark.
CDs – Burn copies of a few songs from your kids worship service. This way the child will be familiar with the music you use when she does come to church.
DVDs – With your pastor’s permission, video tape a few fun portions of your children’s church worship service. Make copies of the video and place the video inside the box. Kids can check out children’s church at home.
Bulletin – Include a copy of the latest children’s church bulletin in the container.
Pastor’s Note – Write a simple handwritten note and include it in the box. Use plain white note cards.
Novelty Toy – Visit your local party store. Shop around for some religious themed novelty toys. An example would be a WWJD bracelet, a set of Bible stickers or a plastic top.
Stickers – Place bright stickers on the container.
Marker Pens – Write the child’s name on the front of the container. If you do not know yet the child’s name, then just draw a smiley face on the box.
Present the child with the box or folder. Spend a few minutes showing him all the goodies inside. Tell the child this box is a gift from you to him. If possible, check with the child after church to remind him to take the box home. Tell him you look forward to seeing him next week.
The following week add new copies of your bulletins to your folders as well as new notes and toys. After a few weeks, the child will be ready to attend children’s church feeling confident that you care and that you will look out for him.
Visitor packs also help the children’s pastor reach kids that come in late that he cannot get to. Instruct the ushers to give the packs to any kids you may have missed.
On the outside of the folder or container, add a sticker that includes your name, phone number and the church website address. This will help parents connect with you if they have questions.