How to Keep Children Coming to Kids Church

Children in a church program wearing Sunday best.

Building a children’s church is much like building a large-scale family church, only the attendees of kids’ church depend on others to transport them. However, regular attendance helps children tremendously because it exposes them to the Bible and biblical principles, teaches faithfulness and allows age appropriate fellowship. Counteract waning interest and renew kids’ excitement with ideas that energize current attendees and boosts church numbers. Balance out contests and incentives  with solid relationship-building to see a steady increase in attendance. Keep kids coming back by doing everything, with Christian love and joy.

Establish a Connection

As a fellow children’s ministry worker, I know that you can’t be everywhere at once, especially when you’ve got needy children pulling on your skirt. Still, it’s crucial that kids make a connection with you, or another leader, right from the start. Jesus demonstrated to us that it is relationships that matter. What would Matthew, Mark, Luke or John have become if they had been denied access to the Master? The children of your kids church are your disciples, connect with them every time you see them. Ask them questions like, “How are you?” or “Did you know I prayed for you this week?” Be available, not stand-offish. When kids know you care, with demonstration, they’ll be back!

Kid-Friendly Worship

Involve the children heavily in worship. Make it a priority to lead kids every time you meet. You’ll have to think “outside-the-pew” to keep kids interested, at least small children. Use these tips for creating kid-friendly worship.

  • Use 2 to 3 songs for worship, not 4 or 5. Kids, especially small ones, won’t want to stay focused for that long.
  • Start with an upbeat song, then one less peppy, then move to a slow worship song. Don’t end the worship session with a fast song. This makes it hard to teach.
  • Use the same songs for a month, then choose 3 more. This gives kids a chance to learn the songs without them becoming too repetitive.
  • Implement worship tools like beach balls during the fast song. Kids have to keep the ball in the air while the song plays. Whistles, ribbons, tambourines and flags will get kids excited about worshiping God.
  • Lower the lights during the worship song. Help kids focus on God. Lead them by example.

Teach kids to love worship and they will show up every week!

The Minute Rule

You should apply the “Minute Rule” to your teaching sections. Kids won’t come back if they get bored, so keep your children’s church program moving. To apply the Minute Rule, you’ll need to know the ages of the kids in your class. If your class is made up of mostly 5-year olds, you have 5 minutes to teach. If your class is made up of 10-year olds, you have 10 minutes to teach. If your class is a combination of ages, select the youngest age and keep the lessons compatible with their age.

Promotions and Ideas

I’ve worked in home missions with large congregations of previously unchurched children. I know first hand that promotions do work when you want to reach the masses. In Alabama Village, (where our home mission was located) we ministered to hundreds of kids a week, drawing them to the church buses with inexpensive promotions. We held outdoor children’s church at times, using Super Soakers and water balloons to demonstrate God’s saturating love. We had Hat Day, Bring Your Best Friend Day, Pastor’s Birthday Party and on and on.

Use promotions and use them wisely. Advertise special days at least two weeks in advance. Hold one a month, if you think that’s all you can do. Kids have a natural propensity for fun and you’ll be teaching them a valuable a lesson — that church is a place for joy!

Visit Mimi’s blog, Encouragement for Christians.


Comments

  1. Amber Mumma says

    As always, you really have to tailor any helpful hints and suggestions to the group you work with. This is so different from one atmosphere and even teacher to the next. Age is a large factor, but not all mixes of students respond according to their age. Some are above their age level, others might be below. I think striving for a healthy medium as far as curriculum, lesson time, etc. is the way to go. You can provide enrichment opportunities for those that are capable and have a desire to go further. For me personally, that is the way to keep an “upper level” section of kids active and interested without ignoring the essential needs of younger or less mature ones in a mixed group of kids.

  2. Jan says

    Love the articles and suggestions. One thought , though, I strongly disagree with is when you have multiple ages in kids worship. Your thought was to direct your lesson to the youngest group. Every children’s conference I’ve been to states just the opposite. Your older kids should “get it – all of it”. Your middle aged kids should “get most of it”. Your younger kids should “get some of it”. If you bore your older kids and treat them as the little ones, you’ve lost them for sure. I have found this to be true in leading kids worship.

    Jan

  3. JAN says

    I Think Your Tips Were Great! Thanks So Much For Sharing. One Thing I’m Not Sure About Is The Balls And Whistles During The Fast Songs. Our Goal Is To Involve The Kids, But We Want Them To Sing So We Do Simple Motions When We Sing Fast Songs(not just sign language), Something That Will Help Them Learn The Words. We Don’t Use Motions When We Do Worship Songs. I Tell The Kids To Let These Songs Be A Prayer From Their Hearts To The Lord, They Can Even Close Their Eyes If They Want To And Know The Words. We Use 4 Fast Songs And Two Worship Songs (worship songs-later in the service either just before the sermon/story or right after) This Works Great For Us.
    Again Thanks For Sharing!!

  4. says

    I agree. Great tips. Thank you for posting them! I really follow that minute rule. It’s essential to hold their attention (and ensure that they’re learning and having fun!)

  5. says

    The minute rule is one of my favorites (and often overlooked by most teachers). Just because we like the sound of our own voice doesn’t mean the kids do.

    Thanks for the tips, Mimi. They are great.

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