Your ministry is awesome. You see God working every single week. Kids are “getting it” and learning about Jesus. You see the beauty and importance of children’s ministry.
However, you struggle because you feel no one else really gets what’s happening. How can you get your church excited about children’s ministry?
You can build churchwide momentum by articulating the vision for your ministry and by getting this vision in front of as many people as possible.
1. Put Words to Your Vision.
The importance of children’s ministry is very obvious to you, but as the leader, you have to help others see it too.
Brainstorm one short sentence or phrase that summarizes what you believe God wants to do through the ministry. Do this with a team so that others are invested in this vision from the very start.
Make sure that the language you choose resonates well with others.
Keep the verbiage brief. Some traditional vision statements are a paragraph long. That is not what we are going for. The more words you add, the less memorable it will be.
Your point is not to explain every nuance of the ministry, but it’s rather to share the main vision in a concise, memorable way. Make it meaningful.
Choose your words carefully so you find the most impactful language possible.
After you determine your vision statement, also determine three or four core values. How would you finish this sentence? “When kids are here we want them to…”
What are the three to four most important things to you? Examples might include gain Bible knowledge, genuine worship, safety, fun, develop relationships, etc.
Challenge yourself to narrow these down to a handful. What few things do you want to truly characterize your ministry?
2. Plaster Your Vision.
Your next task is to put the phrase everywhere and use it often. Begin by introducing your vision and your core values to your volunteers.
Plan a training and make it a big deal. Feed them good food and make it a don’t-miss event. Share your heart behind the vision. Give examples of what the core values look like.
Get people excited and give them a way to verbalize the value of the ministry they are so invested in. Make your phrase and your core values a part of your common language.
Whenever you talk about your ministry, use these words—eventually your volunteers will too.
Next you need to tell everyone else.
Include the phrase as a tagline on your logo.
Use it as your Facebook cover.
Display it in every classroom and decorate the hallways with it.
Make volunteer shirts that have the phrase printed on them.
Include it on every publication or email that goes to parents and volunteers.
Yes, you might feel obnoxious, but by the time you get tired of hearing your vision, you are really just getting started.
There will still be people catching on to it for the first time. The key is to be consistent over time. The more persistent you are about communicating the vision, the more ingrained it will become in your culture.
3. Filter What You Do.
Now that you have developed words to identify your ministry’s vision, the next step is to make sure your ministry truly lives out those words.
Weigh every ministry decision through the lens of the vision and core values. You can say that your ministry is something all you want, but if reality doesn’t align, your statements are just words on paper.
The hard work is making sure that you filter everything you do in ministry from now on through the filter of your vision and your values.
For example, if you identify one of your core values as being “Bible-based” but you are devoting key resources, time, and budget to a ministry that has nothing to do with the Bible, something doesn’t fit.
If one of your core values is “fun” and you have a program in which kids are bored to tears, you need to consider making some changes.
The worst thing you can do for your vision is to create false advertising.
Alignment doesn’t happen overnight, but your team needs to do the hard work of honestly evaluating your ministry and determining what needs to change in order to fulfill your vision.
If you can’t make changes to make it line up, you may need to adjust your vision or values instead.
The point is, as you communicate with your church and community what your ministry is all about, you want it to be as true as possible to what kids experience in your environments.
4. Tell the Story.
Now it is time to share the excitement of your ministry to a wider audience. One of the most effective ways to do this is to share stories. The more stories you can share the better.
Begin with your fellow staff members and senior leadership. Whenever you have a chance to share, communicate something you’ve seen happen that exemplifies your vision.
Share the exciting things that are happening more often than you share the challenges you face.
These stories don’t have to be grandiose. Simple is fine, but highlight how these stories fit in with what you are trying to accomplish.
Share stories with the congregation as well. Consider recording stories and showing videos in worship services.
Utilize social media to tell stories of the ministry living out the vision via pictures and short descriptions.
Whenever you have opportunities to share in a big church, don’t just do an announcement that no one will remember. Share a thirty-second story of something God has done.
By the way, don’t be afraid to ask for opportunities to do these things. The worst that can happen is they only say no.
Casting vision is not an easy process, but it can be an exciting one.
Pray hard, work with your team, and identify ways to get your vision in the hearts of everyone you can.
Enjoy the process of creating momentum for the ministry and helping others talk about what God is doing.