My children’s ministry has a two-fold mission: teaching kids about God’s love and training kids for ministry. I find kids love to serve God, and others, but that type of training is missing in many churches. I am sure there are some great mentoring programs out there but I wanted one that suited my needs. I created a certificate program that is easy for kids and parents to understand. Kids like knowing to how to get to Point A, then Point B and I find they want to continue on to Point C. I chose to work a certificate program because it allows me to reward leadership activities like helping others, with tangible results and recognition. These make powerful motivators!
A few points to share before I give you the 411. Our kids’ church, called TNT, (that’s teaching and training that rocks!) has six stations. We have a welcome center, early arrivals stations, sound and visual, snack shack, the Bible Bucks store and the lesson helper area. I”m sure these are pretty self explanatory but just in case, the sound and visual controls the lighting and music, the lesson helper is basically a props person who sets up games and object lessons.
Here’s how my certificate program works:
- In order to graduate from the certificate program, kids must serve in all 6 spaces to receive a Level 1 certificate.
- Kids serve in all 6 spaces twice to receive a Level 2 certificate and an award.
- After graduating Level 2, kids have the option to present an object lesson or tell a Bible story to the class. (I usually help them develop their idea.)
- At Level 3, kids can choose an area to work at for the next month to get more training. However, they can only stay there a month.
To keep it somewhat simple, I only have three levels. I provide them with different colored lanyards that identify them as Level 1, 2 and 3.
One thing I have to insist on is pre-training. Kids usually arrive 15 to 30 minutes before kids’ church to get their instructions. At the early arrival station, I already have a craft completed so the kid working in the area has an example. I have plenty of adult volunteers but I do encourage them to let kid-leaders lead some.
Our senior pastor signs the certificates and presents them to our monthly graduates on a Wednesday night. Our kids love the attention and feel like they are contributing to the work of the ministry. Once a month, we have an after class lunch at McDonald’s or at our local pizza joint and talk about ministry. Kids share their ideas and talk about their challenges. I love it. I love shaping the future leaders of our church.
If you have access to a printer, you can launch your own certificate program. Train up a child — it’s worth it!