In 2014, the children’s pastor must skillfully walk the increasingly awkward line between what’s appropriate and what’s not. Eighteen years ago, (yeah, I’m a kids min veteran) I never thought twice about hugging a child or calling a kid. I can’t say that today, sadly. Now that everyone is on the web (even the kiddos) the kids’ pastor faces a lot of pressure to be hip and become socially connected. By adding your tweeting, liking and pinning to the mix, you have even more awkward lines to walk. If you do choose to utilize the Internet to maintain and build relationships what do you do? What are the rules?
1. Ask before you call. Before you pick up the phone to make the call, ask parents first. Here’s what I do, I ask the parent for permission when I take registration information. I say, “Once in a while, I like to give kids a call just to say “Hi.” May I call your child? What time is best?”
2. Keep calls brief. When you do call, keep it brief. I usually keep calls under 5 minutes. I start the call by saying, “Hi Mrs. Rogers, this is Monica the children’s pastor with TNT Kids Church. May I speak to Jeffrey please?” When you talk to the child say, “Hi Jeffrey, this is Miss Monica. How was school today?”
3. Don’t text kids. Here’s a rule you MUST follow–don’t text children. So many things can be misinterpreted, including acronyms and shortcut words. Don’t text the kiddos.
4. Obey social network rules. Facebook won’t allow children under 13 to use the network but kids still sneak through. Don’t accept friend requests from children. Let parents know that this isn’t your policy. It might be helpful to put your policy in the children’s church newsletter.
5. Copy another leader in all your posts. Prevent misunderstandings. Include other leaders in your emails and posts.
6. Ask parents which social networks they are using. Save yourself some time. Ask parents which social networks parents are using. There’s no sense in posting to Instagram if no one is using it. Use the networks parents like.
7. Keep personal and ministry pages separate. Even though kids aren’t old enough to actually have a page, they may see your posts. Don’t let them see you rant and rave online. I recommend that you keep personal and ministry pages separate.
Read more from Mimi by visiting her blog at Tools for Kids Church.